Born in Germany in 1935, Walter Friedrich Veit was educated at the universities of Tübingen and Cologne, where he studied History, Philosophy, German Literature and Comparative Literature. He received his doctorate in 1960 from the University of Cologne. From 1963 to 1965 he taught German Studies at the University of Ceylon. In 1967, he came to the Department of German Studies at Monash University where he is now, after his official retirement in 2000, an Honorary Associate Professor.
He taught German literature and philosophy, Comparative Literature, and European Studies, and at present supervises a number of PhD-students. His research and publications comprise the areas of German literature, literary theory, comparative and intercultural studies, history of ideas, Australian-German intellectual relations, and travel literature. He has been Visiting Professor at the universities of Cologne, Berlin, and Kiel. He was also a founder member of the Centre of General &Comparative Literature and its long-serving Director. He is now Senior Research Associate of the Centre.
He was a foundation member and president of the Australian and South Pacific Association of Comparative Literature Studies (ASPACLS), vice-president of the Contemporary European Studies Association of Australia (CESAA), and a member of the Executive of the International Comparative Literature Association (ICLA). He is at present an Honorary Associate Professor of the Contemporary European Research Centre (CERC) of the University of Melbourne and a Life Member of the German Studies Association of Australia (GSAA).
In close co-operation with the Goethe-Institut Melbourne he has organized four international European Studies conferences: Europe 1992 (1989), Economy and Culture (1993), The Future of Work – Work of the Future (1995), and Change of Values – Value of Change (1997).
In 1997 he was awarded the Cross of Honour (First Class) (Bundesverdienstkreuz Erster Klasse) of the Federal Republic of Germany for services to German Studies in Australia.
His current research projects are in the area of the philosophy of rhetoric and topics, history of ideas, and of the history of the contributions of scientists and missionaries from German speaking countries to the cultural, intellectual and scientific heritage of Australia. Publications in both areas are listed in the bibliography below.