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The newspaper of The Johns Hopkins University November 29, 2004 | Vol. 34 No. 13
Obituary: Literary Theorist Bianca Theisen, Professor of German, Dies at 44

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 German 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 style."

"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 410-516-7509.


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