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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Geoffrey H. Hartman (born 1929) is a German-born American literary theorist, sometimes identified with the Yale School of deconstruction, but also has written on a wide range of subjects, and cannot be categorized by a single school or method.


Hartman was born in Germany, in an Ashkenazi Jewish family. In 1939 he left Germany for England as an unaccompanied Kindertransport child refugee, sent away by his family to escape the Nazi regime. He came to the United States in 1946, where he was reunited with his mother, and later became an American citizen.

He is now "Sterling Professor emeritus of English and Comparative Literature" at Yale University. One of his long-term interests is the English poet, William Wordsworth.

His work explores the distinction between literature and literary commentator. He helped found the Yale Video Archive for Holocaust Testimonies, and lectures on issues dealing with the production and implications of testimony.


  • The Unmediated Vision: An Interpretation of Wordsworth, Hopkins, Rilke, and Valéry (1954)
  • André Malraux (1960)
  • Wordsworth's Poetry, 1787-1814 (1964)
  • Beyond Formalism: Literary Essays, 1958-1970 (1970)
  • The Fate of Reading and Other Essays (1975)
  • Geoffrey Hartman: Akiba's children (1978)
  • Criticism in the Wilderness: The Study of Literature Today (1980)
  • Saving the Text: Literature/Derrida/Philosophy (1981)
  • Easy Pieces (1985)
  • Bitburg in Moral and Political Perspective (1986, editor)
  • The Unremarkable Wordsworth (1987)
  • Minor Prophecies: The Literary Essay in the Culture Wars (1991)
  • The Longest Shadow: In the Aftermath of the Holocaust 1996
  • The Fateful Question of Culture 1997
  • A Critic's Journey: Literary Reflections, 1958-1998 (1999)
  • Scars of the Spirit: The Struggle Against Inauthenticity (2004)
  • A Scholar's Tale: Intellectual Journey of a Displaced Child of Europe (2007)

See also

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