Richard R. Ruppel

Office: ​CCC 490a
​Phone: ​715-346-4410


Richard R. Ruppel is Chair of the Department of World Languages and Literatures and Professor of German Literature and Comparative Literature. He earned his Bachelor’s degree in German with a minor in Russian from Hartwick College (NY). He went on to complete a Master’s Degree in German from Tufts University in Medford (MA), which included a year of study at the Eberhard Karl Universität in Tübingen (Germany). After completing his Master’s, he was granted a Fulbright Teaching Assistantship for English in Vienna (Austria).

Upon completion of that program he continued his German studies, completing a second M.A. in German Literature and a Ph.D. in German Literature from Cornell University (NY) in 1984. His dissertation research on Gottfried Keller was supported by a Fulbright Research Grant in Zürich, Switzerland from 1982-1984. In 1985 He joined the Department of Foreign Languages at the University of Wisconsin in Stevens Point as an Assistant Professor of German. He continued to teach Comparative Literature and intensive writing in the Cornell Summer Session from 1985 to 1994.  He was promoted to Associate Professor of German and Comparative Literature and tenured in 1993 and to Full Professor in 1998. He has served as Department Chair of World Languages and Literatures since 2003.  Prof. Ruppel has taught all of the courses in the German curriculum except Phonetics. He usually teaches German language, literature and culture courses. Besides focusing on German literature and culture, he has attempted to emphasize the importance of Austrian and Swiss culture within the German curriculum.

Prof. Ruppel’s research began with the nineteenth-century authors of Poetic Realism such as the Swiss author Gottfried Keller. He has published three books on Gottfried Keller: The first one is an interpretation of Keller’s oeuvre. The second book written in German is a study guide and companion reader to Keller’s famous novella, Romeo und Julia auf dem Dorfe intended for a German audience and the third book focuses on the reception of Gottfried Keller and his work. This has led to chapters in books on Swiss authors and culture. Prof Ruppel has given some 85 papers and occasional workshops at regional, national and international conferences on Eighteenth, Nineteenth and Twentieth-century Austrian, German and Swiss literature. He and colleagues in Swiss Studies have maintained a Swiss Studies panel at the Northeast Modern Language Association each year since 1985.  Most recently, those same colleagues have worked together to establish a standing panel and seminar at the German Studies Association of America. Prof. Ruppel is currently working on a book length manuscript on five contemporary Swiss woman authors who began writing when Swiss women received the right to vote in 1971. A recent yearlong sabbatical has helped him to make substantial progress on that manuscript.

In his spare time, Prof. Ruppel enjoys reading, listening to music, hiking, biking, skiing (both Alpine and Nordic) and golf.


Ph.D. in German Literature, 1984         Cornell University,  Ithaca, New York

M.A. in German Literature, 1982          Cornell University,  Ithaca, New York   

M.A. in German, 1978                          Tufts University,  Medford, MA             

B.A. in German                                     Hartwick College,  Oneonta, NY

with a Russian minor, 1976



"Education in the Life and Works of Gottfried Keller"

Thesis Director:  Eric A. Blackall (Cornell University)

Selected Publications:

Solo-authored Books:

Ruppel, Richard  R.  Gottfried Keller and His Critics: A Case Study in Scholarly  Criticism. South Carolina: Camden House, summer 1998, 212 pp.

Ruppel, Richard R.  Gottfried Keller: Romeo und Julia auf dem Dorfe. Königs Erläuterungen und Materialien. Hollfeld: C. Bange Verlag,   spring, 1998, 144 pp in GERMAN. 

Ruppel, Richard R. Gottfried Keller: Swiss Poet, Pedagogue, and Humanist. Berne/New York: Peter Lang Verlag, 1988.

Chapters in Books:

Ruppel, Richard R.  “Images of Industrialization, Globalization and Ecological Sustainability in Swiss German Literature from Haller to Muschg.”  In:  GSA Seminar: Von Matt.  (working title) New York: Peter Lang, 2016.  Chapter in preparation. Volume forthcoming.

Ruppel, Richard R. “Staging the Swiss Nation:  Drama and Pageants” (Chapter 3) In:  Approaches in Teaching Modern Switzerland: From Multi-Culturalism to Cultural Hybridity. Eds. K Barmgarten and M. Zinggeler. Cambridge:  Cambridge Scholar Publishing, 2010.

Ruppel, Richard R. “Performing Swiss Heimat:  Zur Geschichte und Funktion des traditionellen Bundesfestspiels,”  In: Schweiz Schreiben, Eds. J. Barkhoff, V. Heffernan. Berlin: De Gruyter, 2010.  Chapter in German.

Ruppel, Richard R.  "History of Swiss Theater" for a new multi-volume International Encyclopedia of Modern Drama  Published by  Columbia University Press, 2007.

Recent Book Reviews

Summer, 2015  Berwald, Olaf. Editor. A Companion To The Works Of Max Frisch. Rochester: Camden                         House, 2013. (Monatshefte 107/2).  Forthcoming

Fall, 2014         Battiston, Regine and Unser, Margrit. Editors.  Max Frisch. Sein Werk im Kontext der                           europäischen Literatur seiner Zeit. Würzburg: Königshausen & Neumann, 2012.                                              (Monatshefte 106/3, 534f).

Recent Conference Panels Organized and Papers Delivered

April, 2015       Paper:  Alpine Myth vs. Alpine Reality:  „Max Frischs Antwort aus der Stille.” NEMLA in Toronto

Sept. 2014       Paper: “Schweizerische literarische Bilder der Industrialisierung und Globalisation von Haller bis Dürrenmatt” at the annual conference of the German Studies Association of America (GSA) Kansas City, MO.

August 2014    Paper:  “Swiss Conceptions of Europe.  International Seminar for the Study of European Ideas (ISSEI)  Conference in Porto, Portugal.

Nov. 2013        Panel Participant:  UW-System German Placement Exam Information Session.  At Wisconsin Association of Foreign Language Teachers in Appelton

March, 2013     Chair/Organizer: "Austrian and Swiss Literature:  Literary Perceptions of "Heimat" by Native and Non-native Resident Authors" at the annual convention of the Northeast Modern Language Associate (NEMLA) in Boston

Paper Title: "Elusive Heimat:  Erica Pedretti's fremd genug at NEMLA.

Dec. 2012        Paper:  “Nationhood from the Heights:  The Race to Conquer the Matterhorn”  At the                         International Conference on “Thinking Mountains” in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

Oct. 2012         Paper:  The Swiss Political Umbrella:  A Prototype for the European Union?

                        Chair:  Panel on “Swissness in Literature – Then and Now” at the German Studies                                         Association of America in Milwaukee.


March, 2012     Chair/Organizer:  Austria and Switzerland:  Alptraum oder Alpenparadies?

                        Annual Convention of the Northeast MLA NEMLA in Rochester, NY.

                        Paper:  “The Alps: Shifting Literary Perspectives from Albrecht Haller to Urs Widmer”

Nov.   2011      Paper:  “Deconstructing the Swiss Pageant:  Herbert Meier’s Mythenspiel  At the annual                          convention of the Midwest Modern Language Association in St. Louis.

April, 2011       Paper:  “Dislocation and Relocation in the Works of The Austrian Author Dimitre                                            Dinev”  at the annual convention of the Northeast MLA in New Brunswick, NJ.

April, 2010       Chair/Organizer:  “Women and Politics in Swiss German Literature and Film” at NEMLA in Montreal

                        Paper: “Politicized Fiction or Fictionalized Politics:  Verena Stefan, Laure Wyss and Margrit Schriber” also at NEMLA in Montreal

Nov. 2009        Panel Participant:  UW-System German Placement Exam Information Session.  At Wisconsin Association of Foreign Language Teachers in Appelton

Febr. 2009       Paper:  “Acceptance in Dislocation:  Milena Moser’s Bananenfüße“ for the Panel on Swiss literature at the  annual conference of the Northeast  Modern Language Association held in Boston in April of 2009

Dec. 2008        Paper: “Schnitzler, Klimt and Kokoschka:  Viennese Artists Challenging Bourgeois Conventions” at the annual convention of the Modern Language Association of America  (MLA) in San Francisco, Dec. 27-30, 2008.  

Oct. 2008         Paper:  “Uncanny Ambiguity in the Works of E.T.A. Hoffmann” at the annual conference of the Northeast Eighteenth-Century Studies Conference (NEASECS) in Lake Geneva (NY), Oct. 30-Nov. 1, 2008.

Oct. 2007         Paper:  “Viennese Modernity:  Transgressing the Known for the Unimaginable” at the annual conference of the German Studies Association  held October 3-7,  in San Diego.

Mar. 2007         Chair/Organizer:  Switzerland as viewed from Without:  Global Travel Narratives to Switzerland.  Northeast MLA, Baltimore.

                        Paper:  The American Writers in Switzerland:  Henry James and Mark Twain  (NEMLA) in Baltimore, 2007.

Nov. 2006        Paper:  “The Swiss Pageant in the 18th Century:  Political and Moral Edutainment?”

                        For Panel on Theater and Dissemination of Knowledge, at the Northeast Eighteenth Century Conference in Salem, MA.

October, 2006  Paper (invited): “Performing Swiss Heimat:  Deconstructing the Traditional Bundesfestspiel/pageant formerly used to Construct the Myth of Swiss Heimat.”

                        (English translation of German title).  Mythos Schweiz? An international Conference hosted in Dublin, Ireland, Oct. 19-21, 2006. (All expenses paid by conference organizers.)

Mar. 2006         Paper:  Swiss Fantasies Revisited and Deconstructed:  Dürrenmatt's novel Durcheinandertal, Herbert Meier's Mythenspiel and Widmer's essay collection Das Geld, die Arbeit, die Angst, das Glück. Annual Convention of NEMLA in Phladelphia.


Nov. 2005        Paper:  "Arthur Schnitzler and Gustav Klimt:  Aspiring toward a Mystic Unity in Viennese                  Modernity" at the National AATG as part of the ACFLT conference to be held in Baltimore, MD.

                        Paper:  "Changing Swiss Representations of Heimat:  Cäsar von Arx 1941 Jubiläumsfestspiel   and Herbert Meier's 1991 Mythenspiel" for a panel on Performing Heimat at the Midwestern Modern Language Associate (MMLA) in Milwaukee, WI

Sept. 2005       Paper:  "Zürich in the Eighteenth Century:  From Sleepy Province to Enlightened                                          Swiss Center" at the annual conference of the Northeast American Society for                                                      Eighteenth-Century Studies in Frederickton, New Brunswick (Canada).

March, 2005     Paper: "Traditions in Swiss Humor as Reflected in Modern Swiss German Drama:                                           Herbert Meier's Mythenspiel and Thomas Hürlimann's Das Einsiedler Theater at                         NEMLA in Cambridge, MA.



Recent Fellowships and Grants

2014    Fulbright Language Facilitators for Arabic and Russian. Successful grant brought two native speakers to UWSP to facilitate in the teaching of Arabic and Russian through the Collaborative   Language Program in the 2014-2015 academic year.

2013     Recipient of the Justus F and Barbara J. Paul Award for those going on sabbatical

            UPDC Grant for financial sabbatical support for pursuing research at the Swiss National        Literature Achive in Berne.

            Fulbright Language Facilitators for Arabic and Japanese. Successful grant brought two native          speakers to UWSP to facilitate in the teaching of Arabic and Japanese through the Collaborative   Language Program in the 2013-2014 academic year.

2012    Fulbright Language Facilitators for Arabic and Japanese. Successful grant brought two native            speakers to UWSP to facilitate in the teaching of Arabic and Japanese through the Collaborative   Language Program in the 2012-2013 academic year.

2011    UPDC Grant for $3,571 to cover tuition and travel expenses associated with a fourteen day faculty development seminar in Vienna and Weimar:  “From Vienna to Weimar: A Cross       Cultural Fertilization” organized by the Austrian Ministry of Education, Arts and Culture and the   Goethe             Institute in Jena.

            Fulbright Language Facilitators for Arabic and Russian.  Successful grant brought two native             speakers to UWSP to facilitate in the teaching of Arabic and Russian through the Collaborative     Language Program in the 2011-2012 academic year.

Courses Taught

German 499     Directed Independent Studies

                                    German 499.1  "Twentieth Century Austrian Women Writers"

                                    German 499.2  "The German Classics: Goethe, Schiller, Mann"          

                                    German 499.3  "Theodor Storm: The Late Novellas"

                                    German 499.4  "Practical Approaches to Teaching German Lit.           

                                    German 499.5  “Reading Dürrenmatt“

Literature Courses

                                    German 493     Senior Seminar

                                                            Reading the Classics:  Goethe, Schiller, Eichendorff, Stifter, Meyer, Keller,  Storm, Rilke, Schnitzler, Hofmannsthal, Mann


                                    German 470     Twentieth Century German Literature

                                    German 470.1  "Masterpieces of the Twentieth Century"

                                    German 470.2  "Angst, Affluence and Atonement in Twentieth                                                                                               Century German Literature"

                                    German 470.3  "Purging the Pasts: Contemp. German Fiction"

                                    German 470.4  "Alienation, Affluence and Angt"

                                    German 470.5  "Restoration, Recovery and Reconciliation"

                                    German 470.6  "Pre-Wende to Post-Wende: German Literature of                                                                              the 1980s and 1990s"

                                    German 470.7  The Ramifications of War in 20 German Lit.

                                    German 470.8   Fin de siecle Austrian Literature


                                    German 460     Nineteenth Century Literature

                                                            "Romance, Restoration, and Revolution"


                                    German 340     Introduction to German Literature

                                    German 340.1  "Traditions in German Literature"

                                    German 340.2  "Great Moments in German Lit. 1750-1900 I

                                    German 340.3  "Great Moments in German Lit. 1900-Present II


Culture Courses                       German 481     Germanic Cultural Heritage

                                    German 481.1  "The German Heritage in Europe"

                                                            (Focuses on Austria & Switzerland)

                                    German 481.2  "The Evolution of Germany since 1871"

                                    German 481.3  “Austrian Cultural Heritage in Europe”


Language Courses       German 355    German for the Professions (Business German)

                                    German 345    Advanced Conversation and Composition

                                    German 314    Intermediate Composition

                                    German 313    German Conversation

                                    German 211-212 Intermediate College German

                                    German 101-102 First Year German


Comparative Literature

Honors 350                  The Quest for Identity in the Modern Age

                                    (Twentieth Century European Literature)

Comp. Lit. 324             European Literature and The Fines Arts (Munich)

Comp. Lit. 102             Introduction to Comparative Literature

                                    Western Literary Heritage: Boccaccio to Atwood


Significant Honors and Awards


2013     Recipient of the Justus F and Barbara J. Paul Award to fund expenses for research and research      travel for those who have been awarded a sabbatical in the College of Letters and Science. 


2013-2014       Yearlong Sabbatical     

2011-2012       University Service Award (Two such awards given campus wide)

2001-2002       University Scholar Award (Two such awards given campus wide)

1993-1994       Sabbatical research in German

1990                German Academic Exchange Research Stipend (DAAD)

1982-1984       Fulbright Research Grant for Switzerland

1978-1979       Fulbright Teaching Assistant for English in Vienna, Austria


UW-Stevens Point Adventure Tour - Designer and Leader

The cultural bicycle tours began as a student-oriented venture in the office of International Programs and is today overseen by the Department of Health Promotion and Human Development. These trips draw participants from the Midwest and others from across the United States. The age range of the participant on the recent Swiss-French tour was between 35 and 75. The more recent hiking and cultural walking tours are designed for the culturally curious who enjoy walking and hiking.

Summer, 2015            Leader:  From Salzburg to Bad Gastein to Cortina to Trieste – Cultural Walking Tour

Summer, 2013            Leader: The Swiss-French Alps: Geneva, Chamonix and Zermatt–Cultural Walking Tour

Summer, 2012            Leader:  The Swiss Grisons to Lake Maggiore: Cultural Walking Tour

Summer, 2010            Co-Leader: Vienna to Venice – A Cultural Walking Tour

Summer, 2008            Co-Leader: Cultural Walking Tour of Sicily

Summer, 2005            Leader: Cultural Bicycle Tour of Switzerland and France

Summer, 2003            Leader: Cultural Bicycle Tour of Denmark

Summer, 2001            Leader: Cultural Bicycle Tour of Eastern Switzerland

Summer, 2000            Co-Leader: Cultural Bicycle Tour of The Czech Republic

Summer, 1999            Leader: Cultural Bicycle Tour of Central Switzerland

Summer, 1998            Leader: Cultural Bicycle Tour of Northern Italy and Tuscany

Summer, 1997            Co-Leader: Cultural Bicycle Tour of Bavaria and Bohemia

Summer, 1996            Co-Leader: Cultural Bicycle Tour of Holland and Belgium

Summer, 1993            Co-Leader: Cultural Bicycle Tour of Northern Germany