My interests are in German and European literature, culture, and politics from the seventeenth-century until today. My specialization is in narrative theory. I first published on modernist writing techniques in East German literature of the 1970s. Then I explored seventeenth- and eighteenth-century German literary life and letters, in courtly representation, in literary and religious circles, and in salons. I also worked on utopias in German literature and on literary contributions of various eighteenth-century German women writers.
When the Berlin Wall fell in 1989, I returned to contemporary questions: What long-term impact can be attributed to the diverse literary, political, and cultural concerns raised in East and West Germany? I explored the culture of the two postwar German states, writing a monograph each on two representative German authors: Günter Grass and Anna Seghers. My research for the Seghers book generated a fascination with this innovative modernist writer and German Jew who chose to settle in East Berlin after returning from her exile in Mexico. I have researched unpublished materials in several archives in Berlin, focusing on Seghers's literary response to severe political crises in the mid-1950s and 1960s. I recently published the second of two volumes for the critical work edition of Anna Seghers, a 25-volume, international scholarly project published by Aufbau-Verlag, Berlin. I have now returned to my research-in-progress for a book, "Anna Seghers in America" (working title). I am currently also editing a book on multiculturalism and national identity in Germany and Europe.