About

Petra Spies McGillen, Assistant Professor of German at Dartmouth College, received her Ph.D. from Princeton University in 2012. Her dissertation, Original Compiler: Notation as Textual Practice in Theodor Fontane, is the first in-depth study of Theodor Fontane’s unedited notebooks and other paper tools. Her research and teaching interests revolve around the material history of creativity. In particular, she explores the impact of different forms and media of notation — e.g., lists, card catalogs, newspaper clippings, marginalia, doodles — on creative writing processes. Other research and teaching interests include 19th-century German literature and culture, poetological debates around 1800, the history of reading, pre-modern forms of knowledge production, and media history. Before coming to the United States, she studied Intellectual History at the University of Sussex in England (M.A., 2006) and European Media Studies at Potsdam University in her native Germany (B.A., 2005).

“You are right – our writing tools take part in the forming of our thoughts.”
[Friedrich Nietzsche to Heinrich Köselitz, 1882]