Bernard Schweizer (né Bernhard Schweizer, 1962-) is a professor of English at Long Island University, Brooklyn. He has published several books and essay collections on topics in British and European literatures. He is a leading Rebecca West scholar and has edited or co-edited a number of Rebecca West’s previously unpublished and uncollected works. In 2003, he founded the International Rebecca West Society in New York and is currently the second president of the Society. Schweizer has written pioneering scholarly works in three fields: the politics of travel literature, the female epic, and, most recently, the treatment of God-hatred in literature (misotheism).
His latest book, Hating God: The Untold Story of Misotheism, explores an almost unknown strain of God-thinking. Misotheists are not atheists, as Schweizer demonstrates, but people who blaspheme because they cannot forgive God for the miseries-both personal and collective-that befall humanity. Far from being depraved or immoral individuals, the misotheists treated by Schweizer are great humanists, thinkers, and artists.
Schweizer grew up in the German-speaking part of Switzerland, where he lived for the first 28 years of his life. From 1978 to 1982 he trained as a health-care specialist in Bern. Thereafter, he studied for the Swiss Federal Bacchalaureate (Matura), which he earned in 1986. From 1987 to 1988, he spent 14 months backpacking around the world. He enrolled at the French speaking University of Lausanne in 1988 and in 1990 emigrated to the United States to complete his B.A. at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, majoring in English. In 1991, he married Liang Schweizer, a biologist, in St. Paul. He earned his Ph.D. in English Literature from Duke University in 1997. For the next three years, he held a teaching and research appointment at the University of Zurich, Switzerland. In 1999, Schweizer was awarded a two-year Swiss National Science Foundation fellowship to conduct research on Rebecca West. In 2002, he was offered a faculty position at the Brooklyn campus of Long Island University and he received tenure there in 2007.
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“The danger of crippling thought, the danger of obstructing the formation of the public mind by specially suppressing ... representations is far greater than any real danger that there is from such representations.”
—George Bernard Shaw (18561950)