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James V.H. MeltonProfessor Emeritus

James V.H. Melton, Professor Emeritus (Ph.D., University of Chicago, 1982; B.A. Vanderbilt University, 1974). Enlightenment Europe, Atlantic World, early modern German and Austrian History.


Edited volumes and translations

A past president of the Central European History Society, he is a former chair of the Department of History and the Department of German Studies (2003-05).  His current project, “The Imperial Lives of Lorenzo Da Ponte,” grew out of a longstanding interest in Mozart and his cultural world.  The life of Da Ponte (1749-1838), Mozart’s librettist and collaborator, unfolded across the imperial metropoles of Venice, Vienna, London, and New York.  In following Da Ponte’s cultural odyssey from the Old World to the New, the project explores how this man on the move – and on the make – made sense of his life and of his world through a constant process of cultural adaptation and re-invention.


  • BA, Vanderbilt University, 1974.
  • MA, University of Chicago, 1975.
  • PhD, University of Chicago, 1982.


  • Early Modern Central European History
  • Enlightenment Europe
  • Atlantic world

Recently-Appointed Doctoral Graduates

  • Andrew Zonderman (United States Department of State)