Judith Ryan is a joint member of Germanic Languages and Literatures and Comparative Literature. In the field of German, she teaches courses on German lyric poetry, German colonial fiction, 20th-century modernism, postwar German literature, and the contemporary novel. Major authors on whom she has worked include Rilke, Kafka, Celan, Goethe, Grünbein, and Sebald. In Comparative Literature, she teaches Intertextuality, the relation between theory and literature, and the modernist movements. She is currently preparing a seminar on ekphrasis, to be given in academic year 2015-16.
She received her B.A. from Sydney University, Australia, and her Dr. Phil. from the University of Münster, Germany. Before coming to Harvard, she taught at Smith College. In addition to receiving grants from the Alexander von Humboldt-Stiftung, including the prestigious "Humboldtforschungspreis" in 2009-2010, she also received a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Humanities. She received the Basilius Award for Germanics and was twice awarded the prize for best article of the year in The German Quarterly. Her scholarship was recognized by the award of the Walter Channing Cabot Prize in 1994 and her teaching by a Harvard College Professorship in 1998. She has been active on several committees of the Modern Language Association of America, and at Harvard served for six years on the Faculty Council.