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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Richard T Gray
GERMAN 390
Seattle Campus

Germanic Studies in English

Topics or figures of German literature or language.

Class description

German 390, Section A; Comp. Lit. 396B/ CHID 498G/Engl 363B/ EURO 490

Autumn 2009

Freud and the Literary Imagination

This course examines a set of central themes that emerge from Sigmund Freudís theories of the dream, the nature of literary creativity, the operation of the human psyche, and the substance of human culture. We will take as our starting point the hypothesis that Freud conceives the psyche as a kind of writing machine, an ďauthorĒ that produces fictional narratives that share many properties with the prose fiction generated by creative writers. For this reason, our focus throughout the quarter will be restricted to prose narratives. The course will concentrate on literature produced in the wake of Freudís theories, that is, on texts that consciously or unconsciously develop Freudian ideas. The class is structured around a set of themes that will be developed on the basis of paired readings: in each case we will examine a text or excerpt from Freudís psychological works in conjunction with the reading of a literary text that exemplifies the issue or issues highlighted in Freudís theory. Literary works treated include writings by Franz Kafka, Thomas Mann, Arthur Schnitzler, Robert Musil, Ingeborg Bachmann, and others.

Book list: Sigtmund Freud, The Freud Reader Arthur Schnitzler, Lieutenant Gustl Franz Kafka, The Metamorphosis and selected short stories Thomas Mann, Death in Venice Robert Musil, Young Torless Ingeborg Bachmann, The Book of Franza

Student learning goals

General method of instruction

Recommended preparation

Class assignments and grading

Course requirements: regular attendance at lecture and discussion sessions; weekly short writing assignments; 2 short interpretive papers.


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Additional Information
Last Update by Stephanie N. Welch
Date: 04/30/2009