Lynn Wolff
(517) 353-3269

B265 Wells Hall
619 Red Cedar Rd
East Lansing, MI 48824

FacultyLinguistics, Languages, and CulturesJewish Studies

Associate Professor, Director of Graduate Studies


Ph.D. and M.A., German, University of Wisconsin-Madison

B.A., German and Women’s Studies, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Lynn L. Wolff’s teaching and research interests encompass modern German literature and culture, in particular the relationship between literature and historiography, the representation of the Holocaust, theories of translation, practices of intermediality, and concepts of world literature. These interests are reflected in her first monograph W.G. Sebald’s Hybrid Poetics: Literature as Historiography (Berlin/Boston: DeGruyter 2014), which explores the emergence of a new hybrid discourse of literature as historiography while illuminating the interplay of aesthetics, epistemology, and ethics in twentieth-century literature in German. It is the first monograph to examine Sebald’s œuvre in its entirety, including unpublished archival material held at the Archive of German Literature in Marbach and the Harvard Houghton Library. 

She has also written on other contemporary authors, including Marcel Beyer, Wilhelm Genazino, Nora Krug, Per Leo, Katja Petrowskaja, and Bernhard Schlink. Her articles and review essays have appeared in GegenwartsliteraturEurostudia – Revue Transatlantique de Recherche sur l’Europe, Internationales Archiv für Sozialgeschichte der deutschen Literatur (IASL), Journal of European StudiesModern Language Review, and Monatshefte.

Her current book project explores the visual dimension of Holocaust testimony through an investigation of works that exhibit complex text-image relationships. Broadly defined as “graphic narratives,” these works offer new ways to consider how memory and trauma – experiences that challenge discursive modes of representation – are captured in visual forms and made (il)legible. The project further investigates how experience is ‘translated’ into word and image, how subjectivity and narrative voice are visualized, and how such visual texts reach a wider readership.

Prior to joining the department, Lynn was an Alexander von Humboldt research fellow and taught in the Department of Modern German Literature at the Universität Stuttgart. She has also taught German language, literature, and culture at Middlebury College’s Summer German School, where she also co-hosted the German School’s weekly radio program. At MSU, Lynn is also affiliate faculty in the Serling Institute for Jewish Studies and Modern Israel.



Wolff, Lynn L. W.G. Sebald’s Hybrid Poetics: Literature as Historiography Berlin: de Gruyter, 2014, paperback 2016. (Interdisciplinary German Cultural Studies 14)

Wolff, Lynn L., ed., A Modernist in Exile: The International Reception of H.G. Adler (1910–1988) Oxford: Legenda, 2019.

Witnessing, Memory, Poetics: H.G. Adler and W.G. Sebald, co-edited with Helen Finch (University of Leeds), Rochester, NY: Camden House, 2014. (Dialogue and Disjunction: Studies in Jewish German Literature, Culture, and Thought 1)

Aisthesis und Noesis: Zwei Erkenntnisformen vom 18. Jahrhundert bis zur Gegenwart, co-edited with Hans Adler (University of Wisconsin, Madison), München: Fink, 2013.

Journal Special Issue

Wirklichkeit erzählen im Comic / Narrating Reality in Comics, co-edited with Christian Klein, former Max Kade Professor at MSU, and Matías Martínez (Universität Wuppertal), Diegesis 8.1 (2019).

Journal Articles and Book Chapters (Selection)

“The Book as Archive: Metaphors of Memory in Contemporary Graphic Memoirs by Birgit Weyhe, Nora Krug, and Bianca Schaalburg.” Gegenwartsliteratur: Ein germanistisches Jahrbuch/A German Studies Yearbook; Schwerpunkt: Erinnerung – Autofiktion – Archiv, 2023. 133-163.

“History.” W.G. Sebald in Context. Ed. Uwe Schütte. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2023. 202-209. doi:10.1017/9781009052313.024  

“Sebald Scholarship.” W.G. Sebald in Context. Ed. Uwe Schütte. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2023. 277-286. doi:10.1017/9781009052313.032

“Literatur als Historiografie nach W.G. Sebald.” Romanhaftes Erzählen von Geschichte: Vergegenwärtigte Vergangenheiten im beginnenden 21. Jahrhundert. Eds. Elena Agazzi, Daniel Fulda, and Stephan Jaeger. Berlin/Boston: de Gruyter, 2019. 279-302. (Studien und Texte zur Sozialgeschichte der Literatur)

“‘Die Grenzen des Sagbaren’: Towards a Political Philology in H.G. Adler’s Reflections on Language.” H.G. Adler: Life, Literature, Legacy. Eds. Julia Creet, Sara R. Horowitz, and Amira Bojadzija-Dan. Evanston, IL: Northwestern University Press, 2016. 273-301.

“The ‘Solitary Mallard’: On Sebald and Translation.” Journal of European Studies, Special Issue: W.G. Sebald. Ed. Richard Sheppard. 41.3-4 (2011): 323-340.

“H.G. Adler and W.G. Sebald: From History and Literature to Literary Historiography.” Monatshefte, Special Issue: H.G. Adler. Eds. Rüdiger Görner; Klaus L. Berghahn. 103.2 (2011): 257-275.

“‘The Mare of Majdanek’: Intersections of History and Fiction in Bernhard Schlink’s Der Vorleser.” Internationales Archiv für Sozialgeschichte der Literatur (IASL) 29.1 (2004): 84-117.


Graphic Narratives Network

To foster exchange among colleagues in German, English, French and Francophone, Spanish, and Japanese Studies, Lynn Wolff, Liz Mittman, and Matthew Handelman initiated the Graphic Narratives Network, a research collaborative focused on writing history and visualizing trauma in a variety of text-image forms that highlights works in the MSU Libraries’ Comic Art Collection.


GRM 891 The Representability of the Holocaust

GRM 864 Intermediality in 20th-Century German Culture

GRM 862 From Translation to Multilingualism

UGS 200H History and Testimony in the Digital Age: Studying the Holocaust
Honors Research Seminar that makes use of the USC Shoah Foundation Visual History Archive, co-taught with Amy Simon and Deborah Margolis

GRM 455 German Comics
Overview of German-language comics and graphic novels, including hands-on work with the MSU Libraries’ Comic Art Collection

GRM 445 Bilder lesen / Reading Images
Exploration of the central role of images and visual representations in German culture from the turn of the twentieth century to the present

GRM 342 German Cultures Since 1918
Examination of the various ways historical events have defined and influenced cultural and artistic expression

GRM 341 Middle Ages to Modernism: German Literature and Culture before 1918
Panoramic overview of German literature and culture up until 1918

GRM 301 Global Germany

GRM 201/202 Second-Year German

University News

Professor Evaluates Graduate Curriculum and Pedagogy as Lilly Fellow
Published June 10, 2020 in College of Arts & Letters
black and white image of a women with short hair standing in front of a filing cabinet
Lynn Wolff’s decision to study German in middle school was purely pragmatic. Most kids her age took Spanish. She wanted to be different. Plus, it simply made sense to learn German when…Read now »
Students Spend Year Abroad Studying, Interning, Exploring
Published October 19, 2018 in College of Arts & Letters
For more than 50 years, students from Michigan State University have had the opportunity to spend a year abroad studying at Albert-Ludwigs-Universität in Freiburg, Germany, where they are fully…Read now »