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Prof. Dr. Jürgen Paul Schwindt

Research Interests:

Literary Theory, Theory of Philology, Comparative Literature, History of Latin Literature, History of Ideas 


Jürgen Paul Schwindt has been full Professor of Classical Philology at the University of Heidelberg since 2000. After his doctoral thesis on the temporality of Greek and Roman drama (Bonn 1993) and his studies on Roman literary historiography (Habilitation, Bielefeld 1998), Schwindt has continued to investigate poetic concepts of temporality (Homer, Pindar, the tragic and comic poets, Catullus, Virgil, Horace, Tibullus, Propertius, Ovid, Seneca, Lucan), since 2002 also as a member of the international research group "La poesie augusteenne". 2014 re-institution of Comparative Literature at the University of Heidelberg, 2016 founding director of the 'International Centre for the Theory of Philology,' where he has worked on the question of "Philology and Time" in collaboration with Prof. Cardoso (Campinas, S.P.). 2016 co-founder of the graduate school “What is Tradition?". Currently, he is interested in the development of a new understanding of the relation between literature and history, aesthetic and historical time. 

Project Abstract

“lnterspatiality” – “lntertemporality”. Hermeneutical Grey Areas between the Late Republic and the Imperial Age 


Suetonius tells the spectacular story about the evidentissima ostenta which forebode the death of the emperor Augustus: an eagle lands on the first letter on the inscription of Agrippa's praenomen (M=MORS); a lightning stroke makes the C disappear from the name of Caesar Augustus: "He obtained the answer that he had still a hundred days (C) left to live and would then be received among the gods, since 'aesar' meant 'god' in Etruscan." 


Proceeding from the basic question of whether and, if so, how texts (literary as well as non-literary) can refer to historical dates and facts, we examine the ways in which poetic texts of the late Republic and the early Empire relate to their contexts. It is our hypothesis that the literature of that threshold period developed modes of referentiality in which the poetic episteme of the era becomes manifest in concrete ways. Before any meaningful declarations about the politico-historical intention of literary works are possible, it is necessary to describe and understand the inherent logic of the texts. The Augustan literature has generated effective patterns of perception and representation, which keep the temporal and spatial forms of their cultural contexts elementary and comprehensible. Recent enquiries into how writing thinks ("das Denken der Schrift") in the Augustan age have, based on a new reading of Suetonius' Vita Augusti as well as analyses of various epigraphic monuments, produced a concept of the spatiotemporal politics of writing in its literal constitution, which could put our understanding of Ancient History, or at least of the period in question, on a new footing. Script and letter are conceived as the condition of possibility, both material and ideal, of advanced cultural self-assertion and self-assurance. Ultimately, the question of our enquiry is how thought is determined by writing-and how writing literally defines our conceptions of space and time. Writing creates a consciousness of interspatiality and intertemporality, of which the sequence of letters as its monumental representation is only its most precise expression. 

Curriculum vitae




Habilitation in Classics at the University of Bielefeld, 1998. 

Doctor of Philosophy in Classics (Latin/Greek) and lndology at the University of Bonn, 1993. 




founding director of the 'International Centre for the Coordination of the Theory of Philology' at Heidelberg University. 

Since 2014 

Speaker for Classical and Modern Literary Studies at Heidelberg University. 

Since 2000 

Full Professor in Classics and Director of the Department of Classics at Heidelberg University. 

1998-2000 temporary professorship at the Department of Classics, University of Bielefeld. 

1997-1998 „Oberstudienrat im Hochschuldienst“, University of Bielefeld. 

1994-1997 „Studienrat im Hochschuldienst“, University of Bielefeld. 

1991-1994 „Akademischer Rat“, University of Bielefeld. 

Selected Publications

(ed.) Temporalität und Form. Konfigurationen ästhetischen und historischen Bewuißtseins. Festschrift für Karl Heinz Bohrer (2004) 

(ed.) La représentation du temps dans Ia poésie auguséenne - lnternationales Kolloquium der Forschergruppe "La poésie augustéenne" (2005) 

"Philologie des Lebens 1911 Philologie des Todes", in: Edmund Hoppe. Mathematik und Astronomie im Klassischen Altertum, vol. 1, ed. by J.P. Schwindt (2013) 

"The Philology of History. How and what Augustan Literature Remembers: Horace, Vergil and Propertius, 1.19, 1.22 and 2.13B", in: Augustan Poetry and the Roman Republic, ed. by J. Farrell and D.P. Nelis (2013) 

Thaumatographia oder Zur Kritik der philologischen Vernunft. Vorspiel: Die Jagd des Aktaion (Ovid, Metamorphosen 3, 131-259) (2016)

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