David R. Nelson


B.A., University of Washington, M.A. University of Pennsylvania

Before coming to Penn, David earned his Bachelor of Arts in Germanics and Comparative Literature at the University of Washington in Seattle, during which he also studied at Universität Tübingen. His research interests center on the limits of literary representation and the ways in which different media inform the nature of textual production, especially how the literary representations of visuality and the visual arts provide alternatives to the otherwise purely linguistic reality of the text. These interests reflect David's persisting engagement with literary theory and the problem of representation. He is currently writing a dissertation on the intermedial basis for the practice of literary montage in the twentieth century. The project deals both with traditional literary sources, such as the modernist novel, as well as sources that would more frequently be associated with art historical investigations, such as Dadaist periodicals. David is also interested in the history of material texts and is currently working on a project on the economics of illustration in avant-garde literary journals. 

David is also interested in Digital Humanities. In particular, he is interested in how digital tools can help access and navigate rare materials. He is currently project manager for the Digital Beehive Project, a digital representation of Francis Daniel Pastorius's Beehive Manuscript. David is a regular participant in the Jekyll Users Group and Python for Humanists.

David has presented his research at the graduate student conferene at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, the ACLA, at the German Literature Archive Marbach as part of the 2015 Internationale Sommerschule, the MLA, and IAWIS/AIERTI. 

While at Penn, David has taught beginning to intermediate German, German for Reading Knowledge, and writing seminars on the vampire film. 


Research Interests

Modernism, Intermediality, Aesthetics, History of Material Texts, Digital Humanities

Courses Taught

Spring 2019: GRMN 301 — Von Handschrift zu Hypertext

Summer 2018: German for Reading Knowledge

Spring 2018: WRIT 025—The Vampire Film

Fall 2017: WRIT 025—The Vampire Film

Summer 2016: German for Reading Knowledge

Spring 2015: GRMN 253—Freud

Fall 2014: GRMN 103—Intermediate German I

Spring 2014: GRMN 102—Elementary German II

Fall 2013: GRMN 101—Elementary German I