Susan Taubes Edition

Since 2003 the writer and philosopher Susan Taubes’ (née Feldmann, 1928–1969) literary remains have been archived and studied at the Center for Literary and Cultural Research (ZfL). Her life and writings are a testament to a personal history that is both extraordinary and at the same time paradigmatic for the 20th century. It is a life story in which Jewish exile meets female intellectualism. The multivolume publication Schriften von Susan Taubes (Susan Taubes’ Writings; ed. Sigrid Weigel) with its wealth of heretofore unpublished materials from Taubes’ posthumous archive will make it possible to discover this independent author who has remained obscure for too long. Her literary works as well as her cultural criticism reflect experiences of transit, loss, and placelessness. They provide documentation of Taubes’ enthusiastic participation in the intellectual resurgence within postwar culture in the USA, Israel, and Europe during the 1950s and 60s.

Alongside the scholarly and literary manuscripts found in her literary estate, the collection also includes a large number of private notes and writings found in journals and letters. Her correspondence with Jacob Taubes from the early 1950s—in the period just after their marriage—gives a strong impression of what her working conditions were like. It also documents the intellectual development of the young philosopher and author, for in the letters private disputes overlap with philosophical debates, for example, with regard to the relationship between Jewish exile and German philosophy after 1945. Moreover, the letters tell of numerous personal encounters and give glimpses into the intellectual scenes of New York, Paris, and Jerusalem.

Subvolumes 1.1 and 1.2 of Schriften von Susan Taubes (2011 and 2014, ed. Christina Pareigis) include a total of 269 letters, each printed in the respective original language (English, German, and Hebrew) and each with scholarly annotations. The publishing of these two volumes was preceded by an extensive phase of viewing, probing, and arranging the contents of the archive as well as substantial research in archives in the USA, France, and Israel to find out more about certain biographical contexts and the historical conditions in which Taubes was working. On top of that were interviews with eyewitnesses and an intensive collaboration with Ethan Taubes in New York and Noémi Földes in Budapest.

Volume 2 of Schriften von Susan Taubes (eds. Thomas Macho and Johannes Steizinger) includes Taubes’ previously published essays on Heidegger, Camus, the theory of tragedy, and Simone Weil, as well as her long unpublished dissertation about that same French woman philosopher (Harvard, 1956). These philosophical works were unique in Taubes’ time and remain highly relevant today. In 2014 they will be available in print for the first time in German and with annotations.

Volume 3 of Schriften von Susan Taubes (ed. Christina Pareigis) will include a selection of her short stories translated into German. The volume is scheduled for publication in 2014. During her lifetime Susan Taubes only published two literary texts in addition to her novel Divorcing (1969). Her literary remains indicate, however, that her literary productivity was in fact much more extensive. The aesthetic contexts from which these works emerged and her other self-reflexive experimental writings have their origins in the European postwar avant-garde. These writings are also currently a central focus of literary scholarship. Taubes’ highly complex compositions with their multiple settings and linguistic registers are stagings of both a life story and identity, neither of which is based on a singularity of meaning or a sense of continuity. Instead, they are based on the unknown, the broken, and the interrupted. A new German edition of Taubes’ novel Divorcing is also being planned.

The Stiftung Preußische Seehandlung funded the establishment of the archive.

Through the diverse range of publications and presentations that resulted from our colleagues' work on this project (e.g., the Telos Conference Rituals of Exchange and States of Exception. Continuity and Crisis in Politics and Economics, New York, January 15-16, 2011; the Susan Taubes panel at the Annual Conference of the Association for Jewish Studies, Washington DC, December 12, 2011), we have gained new collaborative partners, especially scholars from the USA. Thus, for example, the international conference Susan & Jacob Taubes and Their Circles (March 18-19, 2013, a cooperation of the Center for Jewish Studies/UCLA and the ZfL) held in March 2013 at the University of California, Los Angeles, led to a special issue of The Journal of Religion (ed. Sigrid Weigel and Christina Pareigis). An English-language edition of Susan Taubes’ letters and philosophical writings is also in preparation with the Columbia University Press and with support from the editors of the German edition.

Program funding through the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) 2008–2013, further funding provided by the Federal State of Berlin 2008–2014
Head researcher(s): Sigrid Weigel
Associate Researcher(s): Christina Pareigis, Johannes Steizinger
Guest(s): Evelyn Adunka, Noémi Földes, Ethan Taubes


See also:
ZfL Project An Intellectual Biography of the Writer and Philosopher Susan Taubes (1928–1969). A Study of the Paradigmatic Significance of Her Life and Work in the 20th Century (2014–2016)


Christina Pareigis (ed./eds.)

Susan Taubes

Schriften von Susan Taubes Bd. 3
Wilhelm Fink Verlag, München 2015, 253 pages
ISBN 978-3-7705-5900-8
Christina Pareigis (ed./eds.)

Susan Taubes
Die Korrespondenz mit Jacob Taubes 1952

Schriften von Susan Taubes Bd. 1.2
Wilhelm Fink Verlag, München 2014, 314 pages
ISBN 978-3-7705-5597-0
Christina Pareigis (ed./eds.)

Susan Taubes
Die Korrespondenz mit Jacob Taubes 1950–1951

Schriften von Susan Taubes Bd. 1.1
Wilhelm Fink Verlag, München 2011, 369 pages
ISBN 978-3-7705-5181-1

Susan Taubes. Philosophische Schriften, aus dem Amerikanischen von Rüdiger Hentschel und Konrad Honsel, hg. v. Thomas Macho u. Johannes Steizinger (Schriften von Susan Taubes, Bd. 2), München/Paderborn: Fink, erscheint 2015.

Christina Pareigis

Sigrid Weigel

  • Between the Philosophy of Religion and Cultural History: Susan Taubes on the Birth of Tragedy and the »Negative Theology« of Modernity, in: Telos Nr. 150 (Spring 2010)
  • “Hinterlassenschaften, Archiv, Biographie. Am Beispiel von Susan Taubes,” in: Bernhard Fetz, Hannes Schweiger (eds.): Spiegel und Maske. Konstruktionen biographischer Wahrheit, Wien 2006, 33–48
  • “Die Religionsphilosophin Susan Taubes. ‘Negative Theologie’ und Kulturtheorie der Moderne,” in: Bernhard Greiner, Christoph Schmidt (eds.): Arche Noah. Die Idee der ›Kultur‹ im deutsch–jüdischen Diskurs, Freiburg/B. 2002, 383–401; rev. version in: Sigrid Weigel: Literatur als Voraussetzung der Kulturgeschichte. Schauplätze von Shakespeare bis Benjamin, München 2004, 127–145
  • Susan Taubes und Hannah Arendt. Zwei jüdische Intellektuelle zwischen Literatur und Philosophie, zwischen Europa und USA, in: Ariane Huml, Monika Rappenecker (eds.): Jüdische Intellektuelle im 20. Jahrhundert. Literatur- und kulturgeschichtliche Studien, Würzburg 2003, 133–149


Talk at the international literature festival berlin
17 Sep 2021 · 7.30 pm

Christina Pareigis, Sigrid Weigel: Überall im Exil: Susan Taubes

silent green Kulturquartier, Gerichtstraße 35, 13347 Berlin

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Presentation at Villa Aurora and the Feuchtwanger Memorial Library at UCS
29 Mar 2014 · 4.00 pm

Sigrid Weigel: Discovering a Fascinating Author. Introduction into the Life and Work of Susan Taubes

Villa Aurora, 520 Paseo Miramar, Los Angeles, CA 90272

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International Conference
18 Mar 2013 – 19 Mar 2013

Jacob and Susan Taubes and Their Circles

UCLA, 314 Royce Hall, CA 90095-1485 Los Angeles

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08 Dec 2012 · 9.30 am

Christina Pareigis: Raging, Devouring Monster of Time. Zu einer Sprache des Traumas in den Schriften von Susan Taubes

Warburg-Haus Hamburg, Heilwigstr. 116, 20249 Hamburg

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25 Jan 2012 · 7.30 pm

Taubes und Taubes

Humboldt Carré, Historische Kassenhalle, Behrenstraße 42, 10117 Berlin

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20 Dec 2011 · 3.45 pm

Christina Pareigis: Haunted by the Ghosts of Judaism. Susan Taubes’s Relation to Tradition as Reflected in her Writings of the 1950s

Grand Hyatt, 1000 H Street NW, Washington, D.C. 20001

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28 Nov 2011 · 8.00 pm

Christina Pareigis: Wer ist Susan Taubes?

Nedderfeld 2, 22529 Hamburg-Halstenbek

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Buchpräsentation mit Sigrid Weigel und Martin Treml auf der Frankfurter Buchmesse 2011
14 Oct 2011 · 11.00 am

Jacob Taubes – sein Vermächtnis in Briefen

Messegelände, Ludwig-Erhard-Anlage 1, 60327 Frankfurt a.M., 3.1 F 161

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15 Jan 2011

Christina Pareigis: What a Human Being Should Do Who Discovers the German Geist in 1951. Susan Taubes’s Response to the Crisis of Modernity

New York

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11 Jan 2008 · 8.00 pm

Archiv und Eros. Zum 80. Geburtstag der Religionsphilosophin und Schriftstellerin Susan Taubes

ZfL, Schützenstr. 18, 10117 Berlin, 3. Et., Trajekte-Tagungsraum 308

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25 Apr 2006 · 8.00 pm

Christina Pareigis: Hinterlassenschaft, Archiv und Biographie. Diskutiert am Beispiel der Arbeit an einer Biographie von Susan Taubes

Österreichische Gesell. für Literatur, Herrengasse 5, 1010 Wien

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Media Response

03 Mar 2016
Eine überfällige Entdeckung. Die Prosaschriften von Susan Taubes

Review by Jan Kuhlbrodt, in:, 03 Mar 2016

20 Jan 2016
Susan Taubes. Prosaschriften

Review by Axel Klappoth, in:, 20 Jan 2016

31 Dec 2014
Susan Taubes. Die Korrespondenz mit Jacob Taubes 1950–1951

Review by Helen Thein-Peitsch, in: Zeitschrift für Religions- und Geistesgeschichte (ZRGG) 66 (2014), issue 2, 205–207 (fee required)

17 Mar 2014
Why is Susan Taubes important?

Book Review by Rabbi Tamara Cohn Eskenazi, in: Jewish Journal, 17 Mar 2014

01 Jun 2013
Susan Taubes. Die Korrespondenz mit Jacob Taubes 1950–1951

Review by Yitzhak Ahren, in: Freiburger Rundbrief. Zeitschrift für christlich-jüdische Begegnung 3 (2013), 227–229

01 Dec 2012
Sigrid Weigel entdeckt die Schriften von Susan Taubes
27 Jan 2012
Die Prinzessin und ihr Priester

Article by Gregor Dotzauer, in: Tagesspiegel, 27 Jan 2012

25 Jan 2012
Susan Taubes – Jacob Taubes – Carl Schmitt

Review, in: Deutschlandradio Kultur, Program: Fazit, 25 Jan 2012, 23:45

26 Jun 2010
Ein Leben in Finsternis

Article by Jacques Schuster, in: Die Welt, 26 Jun 2010

10 Nov 2009
Ja, ich bin tot.

Article by Lena Zade, in: Jüdische Zeitung, Nov 2009

16 Jan 2008
Susan Taubes, Philosphin. Zerrissen.

Article by Alexander Cammann, in: Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, 16 Jan 2008 (fee required)

14 Jan 2008
Mom's Writings

Article by Alexander Cammann, in: die tageszeitung, 14 Jan 2008

11 Jan 2008
Archiv und Eros

Article by Lene Zade, in: Jüdische Zeitung 01 (29), Jan 2008, 24