Paul North

Paul North's picture
Professor of Germanic Languages & Literatures and Department Chair


PhD Northwestern University, Evanston, IL

Paul North writes and teaches on literature and other media, continental philosophy, literary and critical theory. His last book, The Yield: Kafka’s Atheological Reformation (Stanford) came out in 2015. A new book, The Logic of Likeness: On Homeotics (Zone Books), will appear in 2020. He runs an interdisciplinary workshop on critical theory and is researcher on the Mellon Foundation grant, “Critical Theory in the Global South.” Currently he is co-editing with Paul Reitter of OSU an updated edition of Marx’s Capital in a new translation.

He is most interested in the afterlives of Kantian critical thought, deconstruction, literary theory, and poetry and poetics in a variety of languages and traditions. His courses are comparative in nature and cover Ancient Greek, early modern, Enlightenment, Romantic, and early 20th century thought and culture. Authors he works on include Plato and Aristotle, Neo-Platonic systems, Nicholas of Cusa, the French 17th century, D. Hume, I. Kant, F. Hölderlin, F. Schelling, the Jena Romantics, British Romanticism, F. Nietzsche, and several clusters from the 19th to mid 20thcentury such as the cluster around phenomenology—Brentano, Husserl, Heidegger, Benjamin, Kafka, Levinas, Merleau-Ponty, Derrida—or that around the concept of time—Bergson, Proust, Heidegger, Einstein—or that around “other modes of experience”—Baudelaire, Freud, Benjamin, Huxley, Borges, Juan Rulfo, César Aira—or that around German-Jewish thought—Mendelssohn, Maimon, Varnhagen, Schlegel, Rosenzweig, Buber, Scholem. Theoretical style is an area of interest as well, and Prof. North is happy to work with students in a variety of genres and styles, to expand the parameters of what we call critique.

His own favorite among his seminars so far is the one called “Nothing,” which required the most attention.

Prof. North is co-editor of IDIOM: inventing writing theory, a book series at Fordham University Press.

Selected Recent Academic Awards and Achievements:

  • 2017 Mellon Foundation Grant, Critical Theory in the Global South
  • 2016 Humanity/Humanities Grant, Whitney Humanities Center
  • 2012 Samuel and Ronnie Heiman Prize for Outstanding Scholarly Publication
  • 2011-2012 Morse Fellowship


  • 2015 Professor of German, Yale
  • 2014-15 Professor of German, Tufts University
  • 2013 Associate Professor of German, Yale
  • 2009 Assistant Professor of German, Yale
  • 2007 Assistant Professor/Faculty Fellow, Department of German, NYU

Latest Books and Co-Edited Volumes and Journals:

  • The Yield: Kafka’s Atheological Reformation. Stanford, 2015.
  • Zerstreutheit. Guest editor for 2015 issue of Figurationen. Zürich, Switzerland.
  • Protocols for a New Nature. 2012 issue (published 2015) of The Yearbook of Comparative Literature. Vol 58. Bloomington, IN. Co-edited with Eyal Peretz.
  • Messianic Thought outside Theology. Co-edited with Anna Glazova. Fordham University Press, 2013.
  • The Problem of Distraction. Stanford University Press, 2012.

Latest Article Publications:

  • “true refuge issue less: Beckett and The Nobel Prize.” Modern Language Notes. Volume 131, no. 5. December 2016.
  • “Du müßt dein Leben nicht ändern: Kafka und Lebensverform.” Die Literatur der Lebensreform. Hg. Von Thorsten Carstensen & Marcel Schmid. Bielefeld: Transcript, 2016.
  • “Absolute Teacher, Sloterdijk.” Boudary2. Vol 43 no. 2. Spring 2016.
  • “Castle Logic: Hints in Kafka’s Novel.” in The Cambridge Companion to 1922. Ed. Jean-Michel Rabaté. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2014.
  • “Absolute und Relative Diaspora: Borges und Ahad Ha’am.” in Exil – Literatur – Judentum. Ed. Doerte Bischoff. München: Edition text + kritik, 2014.
  • “The Phenomenality of the State.” in The Nation’s Two Bodies. Ed. Oliver Kohns and Martin Doll. München: Wilhelm Fink, 2014.

Latest Courses Taught:

  • “Mimesis in Art and Nature”
  • “Satire, Irony, Parody”
  • “Franz Rosenzweig’s Star of Redemption
  • “Faith and Knowledge”
  • “German Theories of History from Benjamin to Kluge”
  • “Theories of Time”
  • “The Logic of Dreams”
  • “Heidegger’s Being and Time
  • “Jews and Germans: An Intercultural History”

Click on the book cover to go to the publisher’s page.

The Yield    Messianic Thought    Problem of Distraction