Dr. Thomas Kovach came to The University of Arizona in the fall of 1994 to head the Department of German Studies. He was formerly Chair of the Department of German and Russian at the University of Alabama, and before that he had an appointment in German and Comparative Literature in the Department of Languages and Literature of the University of Utah. He received his B.A. in German Literature from Columbia University, and his Ph.D. in Comparative Literature with a German emphasis from Princeton University. His research interests range widely over German and Comparative Literature from the mid-eighteenth through the early twentieth centuries. He is the author of Hofmannsthal and Symbolism: Art and Life in the Work of a Modern Poet (Berne/Frankfurt/New York: Peter Lang Verlag, 1985), the editor of A Companion to the Works of Hugo von Hofmannsthal (Rochester, NY: Camden House, 2002), and the co-translator of Ninety-Two Poems and Hymns by Yehuda Halevi by Franz Rosenzweig (Albany: SUNY Press, 2000); he has also published a number of articles on Rilke, Hofmannsthal, and other writers.
Dr. Kovach most recently published a volume on the controversial contemporary German writer Martin Walser, The Burden of the Past: Martin Walser on Modern German Identity, in which he provided translations and commentaries on several speeches and essays by Walser on how Germans of today deal with the legacy of the Nazi past. He is currently working on several projects concerning the poetry of Rainer Maria Rilke, focussing in particular on the role of music in his poetry. He continues to be involved in German-Jewish Studies, through his participation in the Arizona Center of Judaic Studies and teaching courses on German-Jewish writers and on the representation of Jews in German texts. and has given several public presentations and written essays on the subject of Jewish assimilation in the German-speaking world and the US. He is a member of the Southwest Psychoanalytic Society, for which he has given a presentation and helped organize several others. Outside the office, music is his big passion; he plays chamber music (piano and flute) and sings in choruses. His other hobbies include hiking and movies.