Zachary Sng Associate Professor of German Studies, Associate Professor of Comparative Literature

Zachary Sng was born and grew up in Singapore. He was an undergraduate at Brown University, where he obtained his Bachelor's degree in 1993 and his Master's 1994. After college, he taught English literature at the high-school level in Singapore before beginning his graduate work in Comparative Literature (with a focus on German) at the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore and the University of Konstanz in Germany. He joined the Brown faculty in Fall 2004.

Brown Affiliations

Research Areas

scholarly work

“Syncretic Sunshine: Metaphor in the Cinema of Lee Chang-Dong,” diacritics 41.2 (2014), 6-30.

"The Poetics of the Middle in Kleist's 'Michael Kohlhaas,'" Germanic Review 85.3 (2010): 171-88.

"Parenthyrsos: On The Medium Which is Not One," MLN 125.5 (2010): 1029-49.

The Rhetoric of Error from Locke to Kleist (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2010).

"'Inaccurate, as Lady Linguists Often Are': Herodot und Kleist über die Sprache der Amazonen," Rüdiger Campe and Bianca Theisen (eds.), Penthesileas Versprechen: Exemplarische Analysen literarischer und literaturwissenschaftlicher Referenz (Freiburg: Rombach, 2008) 61-91.

"Figure-3: The Metaphor Between Virtue and Vice," Configurations of the Third, ed. Ian Cooper and Bernhard Malkmus (Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge Scholars Publishers, 2008) 60-77.

Review of Labors of Imagination: Aesthetics and Political Economy from Kant to Althusser by Jan Mieszkowski, Comparative Literature 60.4 (2008), 389-91.

"Das Fehlläuten der Nachtglocke: Zu Kafkas Erzählung 'Ein Landarzt'," Arne Höcker and Oliver Simon (eds.), Kafkas Institutionen (Bielefeld: Transcript, 2007) 213-34.

Entry on "John Locke," David Scott Kastan, et. al. (eds.), Encyclopedia of British Literature (New York: Oxford University Press, 2006).

"Not Forgotten: Stifter and Peirce," Modern Language Notes 121.3 (2006).

Review of Arresting Language: From Leibniz to Benjamin by Peter Fenves, Modern Language Notes 117.3 (2002), 681-88.

"The Construction of Lyric Subjectivity in Shelley's 'Ozymandias'," Studies in Romanticism 37.2 (1998), 217-33.

research overview

Zachary Sng works on the literature and philosophy of Britain and Germany around the 18th century, covering the intellectual and literary movements of the Enlightenment and Romanticism. His other interests include rhetoric, literary theory, and the history of aesthetics.

research statement

Dr. Sng's book, The Rhetoric of Error from Locke to Kleist appeared with Stanford University Press in 2010. In it, he explores the relationship between language and understanding through the figure of error, and examines how writers claim to generate knowledge out of and about error in the period between the Enlightenment and Romanticism.

He is working on a new project involving moderation, mediation, and other figurations of the "middle" in the 18th century and in contemporary theoretical discussions. Some of the authors that will be examined are Lessing, Kant, Hoelderlin, Kleist, Wordsworth, Adam Smith, Walter Benjamin, and Martin Heidegger.

Other research topics include: concepts of community, the sublime, and the uncanny. He was also involved in co-organizing an interdisciplinary colloquium in Spring 2014 on the topic of Dance Studies in the Humanities.

funded research

Wayland Collegium Curricular Development Grant ($2250), 2008
Dean of College Curricular Development Grant ($4000), 2010
Dean of Faculty Lectureship Fund ($5000), 2013
Dean of College Curricular Development Grant ($4000), 2013