Chair, Professor of German Studies
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Jocelyne Kolb received her B.A. from Smith College in 1972 and her Ph.D. from Yale University in 1979. She taught at Smith from 1977-1979, at Dartmouth College from 1979-1987, and returned to Smith in 1988.
Professor Kolb’s research focuses mostly on European Romanticism with a concentration on the works of Heinrich Heine. She has written on Heine and literary antisemitism; on music and literature in the works of Heine, Thomas Mann, and Wagner; on romantic irony; on literary decorum in Goethe, Diderot, Byron, and Heine; and on literary correspondence. Currently she is completing a monograph on Heine (Heine’s European Doubles from Lessing to Freud) and at work on a book about her father Philip Kolb’s twenty-one volume edition of Marcel Proust’s correspondence (Kolb’s Way: In Search of Proust Letters) and an edited volume with Rainer Nicolaysen, about the long and fruitful collaboration between Smith College and the University of Hamburg (Fifty Years of Friendship).
Before returning to Smith in 1988, Jocelyne Kolb spent the year at the University of Hamburg as a fellow of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation; the resulting book, The Ambiguity of Taste: Freedom and Food in European Romanticism (University of Michigan Press, 1995), was awarded the Jean-Pierre Barricelli prize by the International Conference on Romanticism. Her fellowship from the Humboldt Foundation was renewed in 2000 and again in 2005 for her work at the Freie Universität Berlin. Professor Kolb was the president of the North American Heine Society (NAHS) from 2006-2014; together with her successor as president, Jonathan Skolnik, she is planning a conference on Heine in Paris, to be held at Smith College in the Fall of 2016.
Jocelyne Kolb teaches classes in German and English, from beginning to advanced. Most recently she has taught courses on Jews in German culture, literary antisemitism, German wit, German lyric poetry, the contemporary German press, and literary correspondence. Professor Kolb serves on the advisory board of the Jewish Studies Program and the Book Studies Concentration. In 2014-2015, Jocelyne Kolb will direct the Smith College Junior Year Abroad Program for the fifth and final time.