I have studied German and comparative literature at Northwestern, Tübingen, UI-Chicago, Berkeley, and the HU-Berlin, focusing on poetics and literary theory in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Often I am asked, "Why German?" Here is one answer from my statement of purpose (2009):

Das Immerwährendschöpferische. Das Endlichunendliche. Das Neuentstehende. In poetry, and in the German language in particular, there is a certain freedom, perhaps even propensity, to put opposing words together, even to invent new words. So it should come as no surprise that Hölderlin looked back to classical poesie and created his own pseudo-neologisms. However, words are never just words. With such etymological invention comes inventive aesthetics as well. These aesthetics that arise out of poetry and paradox drive my studies.

I wrote an MA thesis at UIC on Wilhelm Waiblinger's epigrams. Before that, I did my BA at Northwestern in German and comparative literature with a thesis on Roman Jakobson's equivalence principle and translation. Now I'm at Berkeley writing my dissertation on the figure of the idiot circa 1900.