German literature from the Middle Ages to the present: Medieval Courtly period, Baroque, Enlightenment, Sturm und Drang, Classicism, Romanticism, Realism, Neoromanticism, Expressionism. Recommended: GERMAN 311.
German 312: Historical Approaches to German Literature
This course introduces students to German literature based on a historical perspective. Movements and styles, such as Enlightenment, Classicism, Romanticism, Biedermeier, Modernism, and Postmodernism, will serve as the focus of the course. We will explore what it means to think about literature in terms of historical concepts and the kinds of reading a historical approach produces. Texts discussed are from different genres and they range from 18th century literature to some examples of contemporary fiction. We will start with the latter and go backwards to emphasize the historicity of our endeavors. At issue here are three major themes: the construction of fictional lives, the plotting of seduction and literary discourses of nature. Readings by Daniel Kehlmann, Julia Franck, Thomas Mann, Brigitte Kronauer, Arthur Schnitzler, Adalbert Stifter, and Johann Wolfgang von Goethe.
Student learning goals
Students can expect to gain a basic historical understanding of German literature and to develop their critical thinking skills.
General method of instruction
Taught mainly in German; discussions in German and English.
German 301 and German 311 or permission of the instructor
Class assignments and grading
Readings of literary texts in German.
Requirements: Regular attendance, active participation, brief reading quizzes, a midterm and a take-home final exam.