The Making of a Terrorist

Paper Text – $34.95

ISBN 978-0-8101-3438-6

E-book – $34.95

ISBN 978-0-8101-6794-0

Cloth Text – $79.95

ISBN 978-0-8101-3010-4
Publication Date
December 2014
Page Count
176 pages
Trim Size
6 x 9

The Making of a Terrorist

On Classic German Rogues
Jeffrey Champlin

In The Making of a Terrorist, Jeffrey Champlin examines key figures from three canonical texts from the German-language literature of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries: Goethe’s Gotz von Berlichingen, Schiller’s Die Rauber, and Kleist’s Michael Kohlhaas. Champlin situates these readings within a larger theoretical and historical context, exploring the mechanics, aesthetics, and poetics of terror while explicating the emergence of the terrorist personality in modernity. In engaging and accessible prose, Champlin explores the ethical dimensions of violence and interrogates an ethics of textual violence.

About the Author

JEFFREY CHAMPLIN teaches at Bard College, where he is an associate fellow at the Hannah Arendt Center. He is also a visiting assistant professor and chair of the Department of Literature and Society at the Bard Honors College at Al-Quds University.

AVITAL RONELL is University Professor of the Humanities at NYU as well as Jacques Derrida Professor of Philosophy and Media at the European Graduate School in Switzerland.


“In this remarkable study, Jeffrey Champlin shows that the figure of the terrorist puts our hermeneutic, political, and conceptual paradigms to the test, that it is through terror that these paradigms are made and broken at the same time. The careful, ingenious readings in The Making of a Terrorist draw from the canonical texts of the German classical period but also from philosophers both ancient and modern, and from politicians on the left as well as the right. The impressive range of Champlin’s discussion reminds us that the problem of terror is neither an old one that we can consign to the past, nor one that can be engaged without a sense of its complex history.”—Zachary Sng, author of The Rhetoric of Error from Locke to Kleist