John Lyon teaches courses ranging from both graduate and undergraduate seminars on Literary and Cultural Theory, Realism, Romanticism, and Aesthetic History, to large-enrollment undergraduate lectures on Indo-European Folktales.
His research interests include German literature, philosophy and culture of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. In his book, Crafting Flesh, Crafting the Self: Violence and Identity in Early 19th Century German Literature (Bucknell University Press, 2006), he analyzes wounded human bodies in early nineteenth-century German literature and traces their connection to changing philosophical models of the self.
His most recent book, Out of Place. German Realism, Displacement, and Modernity (Bloomsbury, 2013), reads the literature of German Realism (Raabe, Keller, and Fontane) in terms of philosophical conceptions of place, specifically as a reaction to the changing sense of place resulting from the rise of capitalism, industrialism, and the metropolis during the nineteenth century.
He has co-edited volumes on Goethe, Fontane, and Joint Authorship in the Age of Goethe and published articles on German Realism, Theodor Fontane, Wilhelm Raabe, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Georg Büchner, Clemens Brentano, Heinrich von Kleist, Johann Caspar Lavater, Novalis, Friedrich Hölderlin and Friedrich Schiller and presented widely on topics in eighteenth and nineteenth century literature, culture, and philosophy.