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Robert Lemon

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Robert Lemon

Associate Professor, 19th and Early 20th Century German Literature

Kaufman Hall 221A

(405) 325-1551



Robert Lemon, Associate Professor of German since May 2012, received his B.A. in German from Oxford University in his native England and later earned his M.A. and Ph.D. at Harvard University. Between his undergraduate and graduate degrees Dr. Lemon spent two years in Japan teaching English as a second language. His research focuses on German literature and culture in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, with a particular emphasis on turn-of-the-century Austria.

In his book, Imperial Messages: Orientalism as Self-Critique in the Habsburg Fin de siècle, Dr. Lemon explores orientalist texts by the Austrian writers Hugo von Hofmannsthal, Robert Musil, and Franz Kafka, arguing that these authors employ Eastern motifs not to support European colonialism, but rather to criticize their own "eastern empire" (the literal meaning of "Österreich" or "Austria" in German.) Imperial Messages was published by Camden House in June 2011.

Professor Lemon teaches the following courses regularly: Introduction to German Culture and Thought, Advanced Composition, State of Mind: The Nineteenth Century, and the Capstone or senior thesis course in the Twentieth Century. He has devised and taught a course on British, French, and German orientalist literature, Western Visions of the East,  and a course on Turn-of-the-Century Austria that encompasses literature, art, architecture, design, philosophy, psychoanalysis, and physics. In Spring 2011 he introduced a new class on the history of German-language poetry.

In 2014, Dr. Lemon chaired the committee that organized a series of events to commemorate the 25h Anniversary of the Fall of the Berlin Wall. The events included a symposium with invited speakers from across the country, a GDR-themed night of events for students, a film showing, a lectures, and an essay and multi-media competition.
Link to OU Daily newspaper article on Fall of the Wall Week of Events

Selected Publications

Aside from Imperial Messages, Dr. Lemon's recent publications include the following: "Cargo Colonies and Penal Cults: Ethnology and Ethnocentrism in Kafka's "In der Strafkolonie,"" Colloquia Germanica: Internationale Zeitschrift für Germanistik 40.3-4 (2007, pub. Sept. 2009): 279-295, and "Imperial Mystique and Empiricist Mysticism: Inner Colonialism and Exoticism in Musil's Törleß," Modern Austrian Literature 42.1 (2009): 1-22. For the latter he won the 2010 Max Kade Article Prize for the best article in the journal Modern Austrian Literature.

An article by Professor Lemon on Kafka and the Anglo-Japanese novelist Kazuo Ishiguro, "The Comfort of Strangeness: Correlating the Kafkaesque in Kazuo Ishiguro's The Unconsoled," appeared in 2011 as a chapter in Kafka for the Twenty-First Century, ed. Stanley Corngold and Ruth Gross (Camden House, October 2011.)

More recently, he has published a chapter in the volume Watersheds: Poetics and Politics of the Danube River  (Academic Studies Press, 2016) entitled "New York on the Danube: The Transatlantic Transference of Habsburg Ethnology and Autocracy in Kafka's Amerika." He is currently engaged in a project examining the significance of ethnology and ethnography in the works of Franz Kafka.

For links to texts, click on the images below.

Book: Imperial Messages: Orientalism as Self-Critique in the Habsburg Fin de Siècle.

 Chapter: "Correlating the Kafkaesque in Kazuo Ishiguro's The Unconsoled."

Chapter: "New York on the Danube: The Transatlantic Transference of Habsburg Ethnology and Autocracy in Kafka's Amerika."


B.A. First class (Hons) in German, Oxford University, 1994.

M.A. in German, Harvard University, 1998.

PhD in German, Harvard University, 2005.