Sascha Pöhlmann's monographs and edited volumes

  • Stadt und Straße: Anfangsorte in der amerikanischen Literatur
  • Future-Founding Poetry: Topographies of Beginnings from Whitman to the Twenty-First Century
  • Pynchon's Postnational Imagination
  • Playing the Field: Video Games and American Studies
  • Unpopular Culture
  • America and the Musical Unconscious
  • Electoral Cultures
  • Gründungsorte der Moderne: Von St. Petersburg bis Occupy Wall Street
  • Revolutionary Leaves: The Fiction of Mark Z. Danielewski
  • Against the Grain: Reading Pynchon's Counternarratives



Stadt und Strasse

Stadt und Straße:

Anfangsorte in der amerikanischen Literatur. transcript, 2018.

Stadt und Straße – wie und warum werden gerade diese Orte oft zu außergewöhnlichen literarischen Anfangsorten gemacht? Sascha Pöhlmann wendet sich in doppelter Absicht an ein Publikum, das sich für US-amerikanische Literatur (etwa von Walt Whitman, Don DeLillo, Jack Kerouac oder Kathy Acker) interessiert, aber nicht den akademischen Fachdiskurs verfolgt. Erstens will er dieser Leserschaft ein Konzept nahebringen, das zentral für die amerikanische Kulturgeschichte ist: nämlich die Idee des Anfangs. Zweitens will er dadurch eine neue Perspektive auf bekannte Klassiker der amerikanischen Prosa eröffnen und zugleich weniger bekannte, aber nicht minder bedeutsame Texte erschließen.




Future-Founding Poetry

Future-Founding Poetry:

Topographies of Beginnings from Whitman to the Twenty-First Century. Camden House, 2015.

Although issues of futurity have become more and more central to literary and cultural studies in recent years, especially in environmental criticism, no scholarly work has yet addressed the topic of beginnings in American poetry in sufficient scope or detail or with adequate theoretical background. This book is a study of how beginnings are made in American poetry. It borrows Walt Whitman’s term “future-founding” to establish a theory of poetic beginnings that asks how poetry relates to notions of the future and how it imagines, constructs, and influences this future in the present. Furthermore, it seeks to change the way literary scholars think about futurity with regard to American poetry: they most often conceive of it in terms of newness alone, yet a deeper theorization of beginnings must open up new ways of understanding the complexities of this relation. With chapters on Whitman, William Carlos Williams, Langston Hughes, Muriel Rukeyser, Allen Ginsberg, and future-founding poetry after 9/11, this book explains how American poetry makes its beginnings, with what means and to which political and aesthetic ends, and how it addresses fundamental questions about the nature of futurity itself.




Pynchon s Postnational Imagination

Pynchon's Postnational Imagination. Winter, 2010.

Pynchon’s Postnational Imagination is the first monograph to critically analyze Thomas Pynchon’s novels with regard to issues of nations, nationality, national identity, nationalism, and the very idea of the national: nation-ness. It argues that Pynchon’s fiction can best be conceptualized as postnational, that is, as working towards dismantling the hegemony of nation-ness as a metanarrative. The study seeks to establish a critical theory of postnationalism that helps conceptualize this complex literary practice. It combines established theories of nation-ness with recent attempts to think beyond the nation, drawing on the ideas of Renan, Gellner and Anderson as well as Habermas, Albrow, Appadurai, and Hardt and Negri in order to offer a viable postnational theory that is as pertinent to literary studies as to other fields. It presents various postnational strategies, most notably that of parageography, to show in detailed critical readings of Gravity’s Rainbow (1973) and Mason & Dixon (1997) that Pynchon’s novels both exemplify and describe a postnational imagination.

Edited and co-edited volumes



Playing the Field

Playing the Field: Video Games and American Studies. De Gruyter, 2019.

American Studies has only gradually turned its attention to video games in the twenty-first century, even though the medium has grown into a cultural industry that is arguably the most important force in American and global popular culture today. There is an urgent need for a substantial theoretical reflection on how the field and its object of study relate to each other. This anthology, the first of its kind, seeks to address this need by asking a dialectic question: first, how may American Studies apply its highly diverse theoretical and methodological tools to the analysis of video games, and second, how are these theories and methods in turn affected by the games? The eighteen essays offer exemplary approaches to video games from the perspective of American cultural and historical studies as they consider a broad variety of topics: the US-American games industry, Puritan rhetoric, cultural geography, mobility and race, urbanity and space, digital sports, ludic textuality, survival horror and the eighteenth-century novel, gamer culture and neoliberalism, terrorism and agency, algorithm culture, glitches, theme parks, historical guilt, visual art, sonic meaning-making, and nonverbal gameplay.

Contributions by Jon Adams, Nathalie Aghoro, Alexandra Ileana Bacalu, Jacqueline Blank, David Callahan, Sebastian Domsch, Manuel Franz, Michael Fuchs, Henning Jansen, Veronika Keller, Martin Lüthe, Patricia Maier, Dietmar Meinel, Sabrina Mittermeier, Andrei Nae, Michael Phillips, Sascha Pöhlmann, Damien B. Schlarb, Stefan Schubert, Doug Stark, Stefan Rabitsch, and Mark J. P. Wolf.

See for the larger collaborative research project, other publications and future conferences.

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