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Faculty of Modern and Medieval Languages and Linguistics


Dr Martin A. Ruehl

Martin Ruehl
University Associate Professor in German History and Thought
Faculty of Modern & Medieval Languages & Linguistics
Contact details: 
Telephone number: 
+44 (0)1223 767388

Faculty of Modern and Medieval Languages
Sidgwick Avenue
United Kingdom


Martin Ruehl took his BA in History (starred First) from Cambridge and his PhD, also in History, from Princeton University (advisors: Anthony Grafton and Suzanne Marchand), with a dissertation on the idea of the Renaissance in modern German thought. After a research fellowship at Queens’ College (1999-2003), he joined Sidney Sussex as College Lecturer and Director of Studies in History. Between 2007 and 2017, he was University Lecturer in the German Department and Director of Studies in MML at Trinity Hall. In 2013-14, he held a visiting professorship at the University of California in Los Angeles. Since 2017, he is Senior Lecturer in German intellectual history and Director of Studies in History and Modern Languages at Christ's. In 2018, he was awarded the Crausaz Wordsworth Fellowship in Philosophy. As Chair of the Management Committee (2016-18), he helped launch the new joint degree in History & Modern Languages.

Teaching interests: 

Dr Ruehl teaches both undergraduate and graduate courses on the history of German thought, with a particular focus on Romanticism, Hegel and Marx, German philhellenism, the Conservative Revolution, and Nazi ideology. At the undergraduate level, he supervises both History and Thought topics in Ge1, Ge 2, Ge5, Ge6, Ge9, Ge10, Ge12, and Ge13. On the MPhil in European, Latin American, and Comparative  Literatures and Cultures (ELAC), he regularly teaches a Core Course seminar on “Critical Theory from Marx to Adorno“ and a Module entitled “Enlightenment and its Critics from Kant to Heidegger”. On the MPhil in Film and Screen Studies, he is responsible for the Core Course seminar on “Film and History”. Dr Ruehl welcomes requests to supervise graduate research in modern German philosophy, theory, and film.

In February 2017, he was awarded the Pilkington Prize for Teaching Excellence.

Research interests: 

Dr Ruehl specializes in the intellectual history of modern Germany. His research to date has focused on the ideas and ideologies that shaped German society and culture from Bismarck to Hitler, in particular the philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche and its reception since the 1890s. He has published books and articles on Nietzsche, Burckhardt, Thomas Mann, Ernst Kantorowicz, German historicism and grecophilia. His monograph The Italian Renaissance and the German Historical Imagination, 1860-1930 (Cambridge 2015) was shortlisted for the Gladstone History Book Prize of the Royal Historical Society. The recipient of a British Academy Mid-Career Fellowship, Dr Ruehl is currently writing a book on German ideas of Europe before World War I.

Research supervision

Dr Ruehl has supervised PhD dissertations on Heidegger, Hannah Arendt, Bachofen's Mutterrecht, the idea of Europe in the Weimar Republic, philosophers under Nazism, German debates about slavery in the 19th century, historiographical controversies in the Federal Republic, utopian thinking in the Frankfurt School, and the films of Alexander Kluge. His current doctoral students work on left-wing radicalism in Hamburg since the 1970s, German Enlightenment salons, "the Jewish question" as a crystallization point of German political thought in the 1920s, Schopenhauer's Indian sources, Heidegger and French phenomenology, German dystopian literature between the wars, aesthetics and politics in the Weimar Republic, and St Paul in German-Jewish Thought since 1945.

Dr Ruehl welcomes requests to supervise doctoral and MPhil theses on topics in modern German intellectual and cultural history, and more generally in the history of historiography and the history of the humanities.

Published works: 

Key Publications

  • The Italian Renaissance in the German Historical Imagination, 1860-1930, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press 2015
  • Hitler – Films from Germany: History, Cinema and Politics since 1945, London: Palgrave 2012 (ed. with K. Machtans)
  • A Poet’s Reich: Politics and Culture in the George Circle, Rochester: Camden House 2011 (ed. with M. Lane)
  • Quentin Skinner: Visionen des Politischen, Frankfurt/Main: Suhrkamp 2009 (ed. with M. Heinz)
  • Out of Arcadia: Classics and Politics in Germany in the Age of Burckhardt, Nietzsche and Wilamowitz, London: Institute of Classical Studies 2003 (ed. with I. Gildenhard)

Other Publications

  • ‘Jacob Burckhardt und der Islam’, Zeitschrift für Ideengeschichte 12, 5 (Spring 2018), pp. 11-22
  •  ‘Germany: A Winter’s Tale – Anselm Kiefer at the Royal Academy’, Art & Christianity 80 (Winter 2015), pp. 8-10
  • ‘German Horror Stories: Teutomania and the Ghosts of Tacitus’, Arion 22, 2 (Fall/Winter 2014), pp. 129-189
  • ‘Aesthetic Fundamentalism in Weimar Poetry: Stefan George and his Circle, 1918-1933’, in: P. Gordon and J.P. McCormick (eds), Weimar Thought: A Contested Legacy, Princeton: Princeton University Press 2013, pp. 240-272
  • ‘Das Allgemeine und sein Bild: Zur Geschichtsphilosophie Jacob Burckhardts’, Historische Zeitschrift 296, 1 (2013), pp. 49-83
  • ‘Introduction’, in: K. Machtans and M.A. Ruehl (eds), Hitler – Films from Germany: History, Cinema, and Politics since 1945, London: Palgrave 2012, pp. 1-27
  • ‘Introduction’, in: M. Lane and M.A. Ruehl (eds), A Poet’s Reich: Politics and Culture in the George Circle, Rochester: Camden House 2011, pp. 1-23
  • ‘“Imperium transcendat hominem”: Reich and Herrschaft in Ernst Kantorowicz’s Kaiser Friedrich der Zweite’, in: M. Lane and M.A. Ruehl (eds), A Poet’s Reich: Politics and Culture in the George Circle, Rochester: Camden House 2011, pp. 204-251
  • ‘Nietzsches Götzendämmerung’, Nietzscheforschung: Jahrbuch der Nietzsche-Gesellschaft 16 (2009), pp. 1-13 (with A.U. Sommer)
  • ‘Nachwort’, in: M. Heinz and M.A. Ruehl (eds), Quentin Skinner: Visionen des Politischen, Frankfurt/Main: Suhrkamp 2009, pp. 253-286 (with M. Heinz)
  • ‘A Master from Germany: Thomas Mann, Albrecht Dürer and the Making of a National Icon’, Oxford German Studies 38, 1 (2009), pp. 63-108
  • ‘“An Uncanny Re-Awakening”: Nietzsche’s Renascence of the Renaissance out of the Spirit of Jacob Burckhardt’, in: M. Dries (ed.), Nietzsche on Time and History, Berlin and New York: De Gruyter 2008, pp. 227-267
  • ‘Kentaurenkämpfe: Jacob Burckhardt und das Allgemeine’, in: M. Hagner and M. Laubichler (eds), Der Hochsitz des Wissens: Das Allgemeine als wissenschaftlicher Wert, Zurich and Munich: Diaphanes Verlag 2006, pp. 23-72
  • Politeia 1871: Young Nietzsche on the Greek State’, in: P. Bishop (ed.), Nietzsche and Antiquity: His Reaction and Response to the Classical Tradition, Rochester: Camden House 2004, pp. 79-97
  • ‘Blut, bellezza, Bürgertugend: Thomas Manns Fiorenza und der Renaissancekult um 1900’, in: C. Emden and D. Midgley (eds), German Literature, History and the Nation, Oxford: Peter Lang 2004, pp. 189-229
  • ‘Death in Florence: Thomas Mann and the Ideologies of Renaissancismus at the Fin de Siècle’, in: S. Marchand and D. Lindenfeld (eds), Germany at the Fin de Siècle: Culture, Politics and Ideas, Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press 2004, pp. 186-227
  • ‘Nietzsche und Basel’, Nietzsche-Studien 30 (2001), pp. 498-508
  • ‘In This Time Without Emperors: The Politics of Ernst Kantorowicz’s Kaiser Friedrich der Zweite Reconsidered’, Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes 63 (2000), pp. 187-242

Other Professional Activities

This is a recent article I wrote on Nietzsche for The Independent (never mind the silly URL):