Bianca Theisen, a professor of German and a Johns
Hopkins faculty member since 1992, died Nov. 16 of cancer.
She was 44.
A highly regarded literary theorist, Theisen
specialized in German Romanticism and media studies. She
studied German and English literature at the universities
of Bonn, Berlin and Stanford, where she received her
doctorate in German and comparative literature. Her
doctoral dissertation focused on the Romantic poet Heinrich
Von Kleist, of whom she was considered a leading expert in
the United States and Europe.
Her published works include those on Kleist, German
Romanticism, Nietzsche, Rilke and Bernhard. Most recently,
her academic work focused on Austrian literature after
1945. In 2002, she became a research fellow at the Center
of Literary Studies in Berlin.
Rudiger Campe, chair of the
Department in the Krieger School of Arts and Sciences,
said that Theisen's distinguishing marks were "the lucidity
and the elegance in her writing as well as in her teaching
"It was this uncompromising quest for clarity and
complexity at the same time through which she has earned
admiration from colleagues and students," Campe said. "She
has been a magnificent teacher. She advised many
dissertations in our department and was available for her
students until the last days of her life."
Theisen was born in Germany, where her parents and
brother still live. She is survived by her husband,
Johannes Reim, a research associate in biophysics at the
School of Medicine, and their son, Felix, 5.
Campe said a ceremony is being planned to honor
Theisen's life. For details, call the German Department at