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Faculty of Modern and Medieval Languages and Linguistics


Professor Nicholas Boyle

Professor Nicholas Boyle
Emeritus Schröder Professor
Faculty of Modern & Medieval Languages & Linguistics
Contact details: 
Telephone number: 
+44 (0)1223 332 137

Magdalene College
Magdalene Street
United Kingdom


Nicholas Boyle was elected to the Schröder Professorship* of German in 2006. Before that he was Professor of German Literary and Intellectual History, and he has taught German in Cambridge since he was a student. He has a particular interest in German literature and thought of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, and especially in Goethe, and in the relation between religion and literature.

Professor Boyle was the Principal Investigator on the research project "The Impact of Idealism: the legacy of post-Kantian German thought", a major international cross-disciplinary network investigating the legacy of German Idealism. The project culminated in a 4 volume work published by Cambridge University Press (Nov 2013) assessing the impact on science, religion and culture. See also here

  *The text of Professor Boyle's inaugural lecture can be read here.


Recent research projects: 

He has so far published two volumes of his prizewinning biography, Goethe: the Poet and the Age and is currently working on the third and (he hopes) last. The biography has been translated into German and in 2000 Professor Boyle was awarded the Goethe Medal of the Goethe-Institut. In 2001 he was elected to the British Academy. His wide interests in European literature, philosophy, theology, and politics are reflected in his book of essays, Who Are We Now? published in 1998, and in  Sacred and Secular Scriptures: A Catholic Approach to Literature, published in 2005. He has also edited various volumes and a CD-ROM of Goethe's works, and has published a study of Faust Part One and numerous articles on French and German literature. His German Literature. A Very Short Introduction was published in 2008, and additional material not included in the English edition of this can be read on this site. 2014 - How to Survive the Next World Crisis (Continuum Books), a brief study of the current political and economic moment in history was published in 2010.