Jeremy Adler

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Jeremy Adler is a British scholar and poet, now emeritus professor and senior research fellow at King's College London. As a poet he is known especially for his concrete poetry and artist’s books. As an academic he is known for his work on German literature specializing in the Age of Goethe, Romanticism, Expressionism and Modernism with contributions on figures such as Goethe, Hölderlin, and Kafka.


He was born in London in 1947 and was educated at St Marylebone Grammar School (1958–1966) and Queen Mary College London (1966–1969), where he graduated with a first class degree in German with English. He studied for a PhD at Westfield College London, obtaining his degree in 1978 with a thesis on the chemistry of German polymath Johann Wolfgang Goethe's Elective Affinities under Claus Bock.[1]


He was a lecturer in German at Westfield College London (1974–1991) and was awarded a personal chair at Queen Mary and Westfield College London (1991–1994). He was professor of German and head of department at King’s College London (1994–2004).

He was a council member of the Poetry Society (1973–1977) and a member of the Bielefeld Colloquium für neue Poesie (1979–2003). He was awarded the Goethe Prize of the English Goethe Society (1977) and a Stipend of the Herzog August Bibliothek, Wolfenbüttel (1979, 1985, 1990). He was a joint honorary secretary of the English Goethe Society (1986–2004) and a council member of the International Goethe Society (1995–2003). For ten years he was founding chairman of the Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust (1996–2006). He was a fellow at the Institute of Advanced Study, Berlin (1985–1986; 2012). In 2005 he was elected a corresponding member of the German Academy of Language and Literature.

As a poet, he has been active on the literary scene since the 1960s, initially writing experimental poetry in the circle connected with the Poetry Society. He published alongside experimentalists like Bob Cobbing, Cris Cheek, Lawrence Upton and Bill Griffiths, bringing out over a dozen poetry books and pamphlets. He has been represented in numerous exhibitions, such as Sprachen jenseits von Dichtung (1979), [The Open and Closed Book] at the Victoria and Albert Museum and [Vom Aussehen der Woerter] at the Kunstmuseum Hannover, and in anthologies such as Typewriter Art (2014) and A Human Document (2014). This side of his work – poetry, drawings, artists’ books – is represented in many major collections including the Victoria and Albert Museum (London), the Herzog August Bibliothek (Wolfenbüttel), the New York Public Library, the Sackner Archive (Florida), the Getty Museum (Los Angeles), the Special Collection, Maughan Library, King’s College London, the Staatsgalerie (Stuttgart), the Department of Prints and Drawings, British Museum (London) and Tate Britain. He held a retrospective of his drawings and concrete poems at the National Library of Czechoslovakia, Prague, in 1997. His novel The Magus of Portobello Road appeared in 2015.

Since the 1980s he has regularly produced literary journalism, writing for The Times, The Guardian, The Independent, The European and The New York Times as well as for the London Review of Books. He is a regular contributor to the Times Literary Supplement. His work has been translated into many languages, including French, German, Dutch, Swedish, Russian, and Japanese.

Scholarly books, editions, translations

  • 1979 Ed. (with J.J. White): August Stramm. Kritische Essays und unveröffentliches Quellenmaterial aus dem Nachlass des Dichters.
  • 1986 Ed. Allegorie und Eros. Texte von und über Albert Paris Gütersloh.
  • 1987 "Eine fast magische Anziehungskraft". Goethes "Wahlverwandtschaften" und die Chemie seiner Zeit.
  • 1987 (with Ulrich Ernst): Text als Figur. Visuelle Poesie von der Antike bis zur Moderne, Second, revised edition, 1988. Third edition, 1990.
  • 1990 Ed. August Stramm: Die Dichtungen. Sämtliche Gedichte, Dramen. Prosa.
  • 1990 Ed. August Stramm: Alles ist Gedicht. Briefe, Gedichte, Bilder.
  • 1998 Ed. Friedrich Hölderlin, Selected Poems and Fragments, translated by Michael Hamburger.
  • 1998 Ed. H.G. Adler, Der Wahrheit verpflichtet. Interviews, Gedichte, Essays.
  • 1999 Ed. (With Richard Fardon) Franz Baermann Steiner: Selected Writings; Volume 1: Taboo, Truth and Religion.
  • 1999 Ed. (With Richard Fardon) Franz Baermann Steiner: Selected Writings, Volume 2: Orientalism, Value and Civilization.
  • 1999 Ed. H.G. Adler, Eine Reise. Roman.
  • 1999 Introduction E.T.A. Hoffmann: The Life and Opinions of the Tomcat Murr.
  • 2000 Ed. Franz Baermann Steiner: Am stürzenden Pfad. Gesammelte Gedichte.
  • 2000 Ed. (With T.J. Reed and Martin Swales). Goethe at 250. London Symposium / Goethe mit 250. Londoner Symposion.
  • 2001 Franz Kafka.
  • 2002 Ed. (with Martin Swales and Ann Weaver). Elizabeth M. Wilkinson and L.A. Willoughby, Models of Wholeness. Some Attitudes to Language, Art and Life in the Age of Goethe.
  • 2002 (Ed.) H.G. Adler, Eine Reise. Roman.
  • 2003 Ed. (with Richard Fardon and Carol Tully) From Prague Poet to Oxford Anthropologist: Franz Baermann Steiner Celebrated. Essays and Translations.
  • 2003 Ed.(with Kristian Wachinger) Elias Canetti, Party im Blitz.
  • 2005 Ed. H.G. Adler, Theresienstadt 1941–1945. Das Antlitz einer Zwangsgemeinschaft.
  • 2005 Ed. Elias Canetti, Party in the Blitz. The English Years.
  • 2005 Ed. Elias Canetti, Aufzeichnungen für Marie-Louise.
  • 2006 Ed. (With Birgit Sander) Marie-Louise von Motesiczky 1906–1996. The Painter / Die Malerin.
  • 2007 Ed. (With Carol Tully) H.G. Adler, Über Franz Baermann Steiner. Brief an Chaim Rabin.
  • 2008 Ed. (With Richard Fardon) Franz Baermann Steiner, Zivilisation und Gefahr. Schriften zur Anthropologie, Politik, und Religion.
  • 2010 Ed. and translated (with Charlie Louth), Friedrich Hölderlin, Essays and Letters.

Poetry books, pamphlets, artist's books

  • 1973 Alphabox
  • 1974 Alphabet Music
  • 1974 Four Sonnets
  • 1976 The Amsterdam Quartet
  • 1977 Fragments Towards the City
  • 1977 Six Triplets
  • 1978 Even in April, Ferrara and Liberty
  • 1978 The Little Fruitgum Memory Book
  • 1979 A Short History of London
  • 1979 Triplets. 24 Poems
  • 1979 Vowel Jubilee
  • 1980 Notes from the Correspondence
  • 1980 The Wedding and Other Marriages
  • 1980 Triplets. 24 Poems with 6 Etchings by Friedrich Danielis
  • 1983 Notes from the Correspondence with etchings by Sylvia Finzi
  • 1985 Homage to Theocritus
  • 1986 The Electric Alphabet
  • 1986 An Alphabet
  • 1987 Big Skies and Little Stones
  • 1987 All in a Tiz
  • 1987 Familiar Signs
  • 1990 Six Visual Sonnets
  • 1991 Soap Box
  • 1993 To Cythera! 4 poems with etchings by Friedrich Danielis
  • 1994 At the Edge of the World
  • 1996 The Electric Alphabet, with etchings by Jiři Sindler


  1. Adler, Jeremy. (1990). "Goethe's use of chemical theory in his Elective Affinities" in Romanticism and the Sciences (Jeremy Adler (about), pg. xiii; ch. 18, pgs. 263-79); edited by Andrew Cunningham and Nicholas Jardine, New York: Cambridge University Press.

External links