Gauss Seminars in Criticism Records
Princeton University Library
In 1949 Princeton University instituted a series of seminars in criticism and named them in memory of Christian Gauss, who was for many years chairman of the Department of Modern Languages and dean of the college. The aim of these seminars is to explore the theory and practice of criticism in the humanities and sciences, and, indeed, in any area where critical thought seems appropriate or necessary. The seminars consist of a series of lectures ordinarily given at weekly intervals, each followed by an informal but often challenging discussion. The audience is drawn from the Princeton faculty, the Institute for Advanced Study, the Princeton-Rutgers community, and the wider community of New York and Philadelphia. Interested students are also invited to participate. There are customarily three such series each year. Each seminar series is conducted by a distinguished artist, critic, or scholar who is invited to present material that he or she takes to be of interest to specialists and non-specialists alike, and which seems likely to lead to the exchange of ideas and to possibilities for further study. Seminar topics characteristically represent work-in-progress, although reconsiderations of previous work have proven fruitful.
Gauss Seminars are held with the aim of providing a focus for discussion, study, and the exchange of ideas in the humanities. The seminars take different forms, but traditionally they have been conducted by guests invited to present material upon which they are working. Past seminar leaders have included Erich Auerbach, Hannah Arendt, W. H. Auden, Noam Chomsky, Roman Jakobson, Elaine Scarry, Joan Scott, and Raymond Bellour. Faculty and graduate students from Princeton University, the Institute for Advanced Study, and the community at large participate in each seminar.
The Gauss Seminars Records are composed of correspondence with the guest speakers from 1949 to 1981. Most folders contain a letter of invitation to speak at the Gauss Seminars, correspondence concerning presentation dates, lodging, and material for distribution during the presentation.
Contact InformationPrinceton University Library
Seeley G. Mudd Manuscript Library
65 Olden Street
United States https://findingaids.princeton.edu/collections/AC178