Hans Rudolf Vaget

Helen and Laura Shedd Professor Emeritus of German Studies and Professor Emeritus of Comparative Literature


Hans Rudolf Vaget is professor emeritus of German studies and comparative literature at Smith, where he taught from 1967 to 2004. He received his academic training at the universities of Munich and Tübingen, the University of Wales at Cardiff and at Columbia University in New York. He has published widely in the field of German studies from the l8th century to the present, focusing primarily on Goethe, Wagner and Thomas Mann.

Aside from Smith, he has taught at the University of California, Irvine; Yale; Columbia; Princeton; University of Massachusetts Amherst; Middlebury College and Hamburg University. He is a co-founder of the Goethe Society of North America and its former president. He is one of the chief editors of the new edition of the works, letters and diaries of Thomas Mann. He is also one of the editors and co-founders of wagnerspectrum, a journal of Wagner Studies, which debuted in 2005.


  • Thomas-Mann-Medal, awarded by the German Thomas Mann Society (Lübeck 1994).
  • "Forschungspreis" (Research Prize) of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation (Bonn, 2001).
  • Mellon Emeritus Fellowship (New York, 2011).
  • Fellowship (Berlin Prize) from American Academy Berlin (Berlin 2012).

Recent publications (selection)

Thomas Mann, der Amerikaner. Leben und Werk im amerikanischen Exil, 1938–1952 (Frankfurt/M: S. Fischer, 2011; 2nd. ed. 2013).

Thomas Mann, Briefe III, 1924 - 1932, co-editor (Frankfurt/M: S. Fischer, 2011).

Im Schatten Wagners. Thomas Mann über Richard Wagner, Texte und Zeugnisse 1895–1955 (Frankfurt/Main: S. Fischer, 3rd. ed. 2010).

Seelenzauber. Thomas Mann und die Musik (Frankfurt/M: S. Fischer, 2006, 2nd. ed. 2012).

Thomas Mann's "The Magic Mountain." A Casebook in Criticism (New York: Oxford UP, 2008).

Work in progress

Wehvolles Erbe. Richard Wagner in Deutschland: Hitler, Knappertsbusch, Mann. (Frankfurt/M: S. Fischer, forthcoming in May 2017).