Hans-Ulrich Gumbrecht is the Albert Guérard-Professor of Literature in the Departments of Comparative Literature, of French and Italian, and (by courtesy) of Spanish and Portuguese at Stanford University.

He was born in Wuerzburg (West Germany) in 1948. After spending several months at Lycée Henri IV in Paris, he graduated from the Siebold Gymnasium at his home town in 1967. He studied Romance and German Philology, Philosophy and Sociology at Munich, Regensburg, Salamanca (Spain), Pavia (Italy) and Konstanz, receiving his PhD at the University of Konstanz in 1971. Gumbrecht was an assistant professor (Wissenschaftlicher Assistent) at Konstanz and passed the Habilitation in 1974. He was appointed full professor at the University of Bochum (1975 - 1982) and at the University of Siegen (1983 - 1989), where he founded the first Graduate School (dedicated to the topic "Kommunikationsformen als Lebensformen") in Germany. He received offers for professorships from the University of Frankfurt, the University of Sankt Gallen (Switzerland), the University of California/Berkeley, Yale University, and, for a regular visiting professorship, from the Université de Montréal. From 1983 to 1985 he was Vice-President of the German Association of Romance Philology. Visiting Professorships brought him to Rio de Janeiro and Buenos Aires, Berkeley, Princeton and Montreal, Barcelona, Budapest, Aarhus, Lisbon, Capetown and Paris (Ecole des Hautes Etudes). During the academic year 1993/94 he was be a fellow at the Stanford Humanities Center, a Distinguished Visitor at the Commonwealth Center of the University of Virginia , and a Walker Ames Professor at the University of Washington. In 1996 he gave lectures at the College de France.

Between 1981 and 1989 Gumbrecht organized five interdisciplinary and international research-colloquia on the epistemological reorientation of the Humanities at the Inter- University Center Dubrovnik. At Stanford, he was chair of the Department of Comparative Literature from 1990 to 1993 and during the academic year 1996/97, a member of the Academic Senate (1992-1993), a member of the Advisory Board of the Humanities Center (1991-1993, again since 1994), and a member and chair of the Editorial Board of Stanford University Press (1991-94, 1996-97) Between 1991 and 1996 he was convening an interdisciplinary research group on the topic of 'medieval theatricality.' Since his arrival at Stanford, he has organized four interdisciplinary research colloquia: "Writing / Ecriture / Schrift" (1991), "Beyond Dualism. Epistemological Convergences between the Sciences and the Humanities" (1994), "The Athlete's Body" (1995), "Body / Ethics" (1996). He is co-editor of 'Grundriss der romanischen Literaturen des Mittelalters,' of the Harvard History of German Literature, and of the publication series 'Figurae - Readings in Medieval Culture,' 'Writing Science," and "Espaces Métisses." Since the late 1980s he has been a steady contributor to the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung and to Merkur - Zeitschrift fuer europaeisches Denken.