Lionel Gossman
M. Taylor Pine Professor of Romance Languages and Literatures

Old town, Basel Old town, Basel Old town, Basel Old town, Basel Spalentor, Basel


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Work on the web

"La Suisse nomade." This essay was originally commissioned around 1995 for a projected collection of four essays on Swiss travelers and explorers, to be edited by Lucien Dällenbach of the E.T.H. in Zurich. The project fell through but the essay was too long to be published as a scholarly article and too short to make a book, even a small one. It was also, on its own, too specialized. It consists of four parts, The first gives an overview of the various forms of Swiss emigration or residence abroad (as mercenary soldiers, merchants, artists, tutors, etc.), while the other three deal with three travelers from Basel: J.J. Bachofen, Jacob Burckhardt, and -- in by far the longest of the four parts -- Johann Ludwig or John Lewis Burckhardt (1784-1817), otherwise known as Sheikh Ibrahim. The discoverer of Petra, the first Westerner to make the Hajd and bring back a detailed description of Mecca and Medina, and an astute observer of the manners and customs of the various peoples of the Nile valley and the Middle East, Burckhardt was buried according to Muslim rites in a cemetery at the gates of Cairo. His many travel reports on Africa and the Middle East, published in English by his employers at the London Society for the Exploration of the Interior Parts of Africa, are still valued and consulted by modern scholars.


"Unwilling Moderns: On the Nazarene artists of the early Nineteenth Century." Begun in 2000 and completed in late 2001, this 80-page text is my first foray into art history. It is an attempt to reconsider a group of artists who were celebrated in their time but whose reputation declined rapidly around mid-century and who are hardly known today outside Germany. In particular, the essay addresses the ideological component of the historiography of art and its influence on the evaluation of past art.(Additional Portfolio of images available)

"The Idea of Europe." Text of the opening lecture for an alumni course taught in 1997.

"Constant." Text of a lecture for Ohio State University in 2003.

"E.M. Lilien."


"Odd Man Out: Heinrich Vogeler and fin-de-siècle Worpswede"

"A Stained Glass Masterpiece in Victorian Glasgow."

"Gabriele Münter Photographer of America 1898-1900"