The Research Group German Literature has a strong and continuous record in promoting doctoral dissertations and attracting research funding: it has been host to a steady and considerable amount of PhD students and postdoctoral researchers. The German Section as a whole is the largest of its kind in the Benelux and provides courses and tutoring for over 250 students of German.
The Research Group German Literature at Ghent University covers the period roughly from the 17th to the 21st century and specializes in an approach that focuses on the internal dynamics of the literary text as well as on its cultural-historical functioning. The central domains of research include, among others:
- the encyclopaedic and documentary literature in (early) modern and contemporary German literature
- narrativity and rhetoric
- style and figurativity in philosophy, especially in Nietzsche's work
- neo-classical influences in 19th and 20th century literature
- digital literary forensics and digital editions
- the development of supranational cultural identities in German and Austrian literature
Previous projects were devoted to the combinatorics of affects and the production of knowledge in 18th and 19th century literature, history of science writing, the usage of literary style, figurativity and narrativity by Nietzsche, to authors of literary (post)modernism, contemporary German and Austrian literature, and the interaction between literature and philosophy. In terms of research methodology, priority is given to a close (hermeneutic) reading of texts in combination with the theoretical reflection of the preconditions of such a reading (rhetoric, narratology, reception theory). Collaborative research projects are currently devoted to the impact of literary theory on children's literature and young adult fiction; negativity; etc.