Petra S. McGillen

I work on the material history of creativity in German literature and culture, ca. 1750 to 1900. In particular, I explore the impact of different forms and media of notation—from doodles to writers’ notebooks, from lists to databases—on creative writing processes and forms of knowledge organization. I am currently completing a book about Theodor Fontane's notebooks and the making of literature in the industrial age of print. My other research and teaching interests include book history, the history of journalism, popular culture, and literary realism.

Recent blog posts by this author

Techniques of 19th-century fake news reporter teach us why we are suckers for it

Donald Trump appears to have a straightforward definition of fake news: Stories that are critical of him or his presidency are “fake,” while those that praise him are “real.” On the surface, the logic doesn’t hold up. But at the same time, the...