Prof. Dr. Matthias Bauer

English Philology / Literary Studies

Spokesperson of the Graduate Programme

Contact Details

m.bauerspam prevention@uni-tuebingen.de

Wilhelmstraße 50

72074 Tübingen

Tel.: +49 7071 297 8459


About Ambiguity

Matthias Bauer has been intrigued by questions of ambiguity for quite some time, be it in the context of his studies on fictional autobiography (life as living and as narrative) or in his research on the serious language games of the Metaphysical Poets. As regards the supervision of PhD projects, he was concerned with the subject in the graduate training group on “Dimensions of Ambiguity” (2008-2011), which he chaired.



After studying English, History and the History of Art at the universities of Münster and Yale, Matthias Bauer completed his dissertation on Charles Dickens’s David Copperfield in 1990 (German title: Das Leben als Geschichte: Poetische Reflexion in Dickens‘ „David Copperfield“). His Habilitation followed in 1999 on the topic of Mystical Linguistics: George Herbert, Richard Crashaw and Henry Vaughan. Matthias Bauer was Professor of English at the University of the Saarland from 2001 to 2004, when he took up his present position (Chair of English Literature) at the Eberhard Karls Universität in Tübingen.



Matthias Bauer is involved in various research projects (research at Tübingen University's Faculty of Philosophy), the Graduate Research Training Group “Ambiguity” being one of them. He chairs (with Sigrid Beck) the project A2 “Interpretability in Context” of the Collaborative Research Center “The Constitution of Meaning” (SFB 833, webpage); he is a member of the graduate programme “Sacred Texts” (webpage), and member of the board of the Centre for Early Modern Studies at Tübingen University (webpage). His research focuses on drama, poetry and poetics of the Renaissance and the Early Modern Period as well as on the nineteenth-century novel, and poetry from the late nineteenth century to the present. Special areas of interest include the interdisciplinary connection of linguistics and literary studies, the relation of literature and religion, Metaphysical Poetry, the language of literature (and the notions of language reflected by literature) and the history of literary theory.



Professor Bauer’s teaching covers the field of English literature from the sixteenth century to the present, with an emphasis on Renaissance and Early Modern poetry and drama, nineteenth-century fiction, and poetry from the late nineteenth century to the present. Besides ambiguity, his courses have been concerned thematically e.g. with „What Poetry Can Do“, „Poetic Economy“, „Literary Meaning“, „Literary Paradox“ and „Poetry in Fiction“. Several of these interests come together in Professor Bauer’s ongoing research projects. In his most recent project on the annotation of literary texts, he most strongly combines teaching and research (webpage of the "Annotating Literature" project). You can find an overview of his current teaching at his chair's page.


Other Activities

Together with Inge Leimberg, Burkhard Niederhoff and Angelika Zirker, Matthias Bauer is the editor of Connotations: A Journal for Critical Debate, which has been published since 1991. Connotations is an international, peer-reviewed journal focusing on the language of literature in a historical perspective. It was founded in order to provide a forum for exchanging ideas derived from the close reading of literature in English. In Connotations, critical debate is put into practice, for example, by the editors’ encouraging experts working on related subjects to submit responses to articles accepted for publication. Full open access is available at www.connotations.de.


Publications on „Ambiguity“

  • Bauer, Matthias; Miriam Lahrsow (2020). "Annotation Guideline No. 6: SANTA 6 Collaborative Annotation as a Teaching Tool Between Theory and Practice." Journal of Cultural Analytics, 15 Jan. 2020. https://doi.org/10.22148/001c.11747 .
  • Bauer, Matthias; Lisa Ebert (2019). "Ambiguous Heroes in Nineteenth-Century Fiction. A Qualitative and Quantitative Reading of Five Authors and Ten Novels." Ambige Helden. helden. heroes. héros. E-Journal zu Kulturen des Heroischen: Special Issue, Vol. 6 (2019). 11-25.
  • Bauer, Matthias (2019). "Ambiguity and Ambivalence before 'Ambivalence.'" Ambivalenz in Sprache, Literatur und Kunst. Ambivalence in Language, Literature and Art. Hg. Matthias Bauer, Frauke Berndt and Sebastian Meixner. Würzburg: Königshausen & Neumann. (Poetik und Episteme 3.) 141-54.
  • Bauer, Matthias; Angelika Zirker (2016). "Modern Debates: Christianity and Literature, Literature and Theology and Religion and Literature." The Routledge Companion to Literature and Religion. Ed. Mark Knight. London: Routledge. 58-68.
  • Bauer, Matthias (2015). "Secret Wordplay and What It May Tell Us." Wordplay and Metalinguistic / Metadiscursive Reflection: Authors, Contexts, Techniques, and Meta-Reflection. Eds. Angelika Zirker and Esme Winter-Froemel. Berlin: de Gruyter. 269-88.
  • Bauer, Matthias (2015): "Ironie und Ambiguität: Annäherungen aus literaturwissenschaftlicher Sicht." Faktuales und fiktionales Erzählen. Ed. Nicole Falkenhayner, Monika Fludernik and Julia Steiner. Würzburg: Ergon. 139-58.
  • Bauer, Matthias (2015). “The Chimes and the Rhythm of Life.” Charles Dickens as an Agent of Change. Eds. Joachim Frenk und Lena Steveker. New York: AMS Press. 111-27.
  • Bade, Nadine; Matthias Bauer; Sigrid Beck; Carmen Dörge; Angelika Zirker (2015). "Ambiguity in Shakespeare’s Sonnet". Ambiguity: Language and Communication. Ed. Susanne Winkler. Berlin, New York: de Gruyter. 89-138.
  • Bauer, Matthias; Nadine Bade, Sigrid Beck, Carmen Dörge, Burkhart von Eckartsberg, Janina Niefer, Saskia Ottschofski, Angelika Zirker (2015). "Emily Dickinson’s 'My life had stood a loaded gun' – An interdisciplinary analysis." Journal of Literary Semantics 44.2: 115-40.
  • Bauer, Matthias; Angelika Zirker (2015). "Whipping Boys Explained: Literary Annotation and Digital Humanities." Literary Studies in the Digital Age: An Evolving Anthology. Eds. Ray Siemens und Kenneth M. Price. https://dlsanthology.commons.mla.org/whipping-boys-explained-literary-annotation-and-digital-humanities/
  • Bauer, Matthias; Sigrid Beck (2014). "On the Meaning of Fictional Texts." Approaches to Meaning: Composition, Values, and Interpretation. Eds. Daniel Gutzmann, Jan Köpping and Cécile Meier. Leiden: Brill. 250-75.
  • Bauer, Matthias; Angelika Zirker (2014). "Dickens and Ambiguity: The Case of A Tale of Two Cities.” Dickens, Modernism and Modernity. Ed. Christine Huguet and Nathalie Vanfasse. Paris: Editions du Sagittaire. 209-229.
  • Bross, Martina; Matthias Bauer (2014). "Character Writing and the Stage in the Early Seventeenth Century." Anglistentag 2013 Proceedings. Ed. Silvia Mergen­thal and Reingard M. Nischik. Trier: WVT, 2014. 195-206.
  • Bauer, Matthias; Joachim Knape; Peter Koch; Susanne Winkler (2010). "Dimensionen der Ambiguität." Zeitschrift für Literaturwissenschaft und Linguistik 158: 7-75.
  • Bauer, Matthias; Markus Bauer; Sigrid Beck; Carmen Dörge; Burkhard von Eckartsberg; Katja Riedel; Michaela Meder; Janina Zimmermann; Angelika Zirker (2010). "‘The Two Coeval Come’: Emily Dickinson and Ambiguity.” Zeitschrift für Literaturwissenschaft und Linguistik 158: 98-124.
  • Bauer, Matthias; Joachim Knape; Peter Koch; Susanne Winkler (2009). "'Disarmed': Ein interdisziplinäres Gespräch über Ambiguität am Beispiel eines kausativen Verbs." Dimensionen der Zweitsprachenforschung / Dimensions of Second Language Research: Festschrift für Kurt Kohn. Ed. Michaela Albl-Mikasa, Sabine Braun and Sylvia Kalina. Tübingen: Narr. 253-276.
  • Bauer, Matthias; Sigrid Beck (2009). "Interpretation: Local Composition and Textual Meaning." In: Dimensionen der Zweitsprachenforschung / Dimensions of Second Language Research: Festschrift für Kurt Kohn. Ed. Michaela Albl-Mikasa, Sabine Braun and Sylvia Kalina. Tübingen: Narr. 289-300.
  • Bauer, Matthias (2000). "Language and the Suspension of Reality in Cymbeline." Anglistentag 1999 Mainz: Proceedings. Ed. Bernhard Reitz and Sigrid Rieuwerts. Trier: Wissenschaftlicher Verlag Trier. 183-198.
  • Bauer, Matthias (1998). "Ambiguität"; "Anagramm"; "Bedeutung"; "Denotation"; "Spiel." Metzler Lexikon Literatur- und Kulturtheorie: Ansätze, Personen, Grundbegriffe. Ed. Ansgar Nünning. Stuttgart: Metzler. 12; 13; 41; 88-89; 495-496.
  • Bauer, Matthias (1995). "Paronomasia celata in Donne's 'A Valediction: forbidding mourning.'" English Literary Renaissance 25. 97-111.


Further Publications

 Follow the link for a full list of his publications.