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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Richard T Gray
GERMAN 500
Seattle Campus

Literary Theory, Methodology, and Bibliography

Historical survey and analysis of criticism (Methodengeschichte) and modern trends in contemporary theory. Methods of research and bibliography, as well as theoretical aspects of practical interpretation.

Class description

This course has a double focus. On the one hand, it will introduce graduate students to the significant bibliographical reference tools of German literary studies and train them in bibliographical and research methods, as well as in the rudiments of MLA style. On the other hand, the course will provide an introduction to recent theoretical directions—e.g., structuralism, deconstruction, hermeneutics, reception theory, feminism, neo-Marxism—on the basis of selected short essays by the primary theoreticians (e.g., Freud, Lacan, Derrida, Foucault, Gadamer, Jauss, etc.). We will attempt to move from theory to application by using the different approaches as tools for interpreting a single text, Kafka’s short story “Das Urteil.” Students will be assigned a series of shorter written and oral exercises: the compilation of two bibliographies (one on an 18th, one on a 20th-century writer); the establishment of a research bibliography for a paper (undergraduate or graduate) written previously for another course; an oral presentation (perhaps in a small group) on a particular theoretical movement and its application to Kafka’s story; a mock book review.

Required Textbooks:

Oliver Jahraus and Stefan Neuhaus, eds. Kafkas “Urteil” und die Literaturtheorie: Zehn Modellanalyse. Reclam UB 17636. Stuttgart: Reclam, 2002.

Raabe, Paul. Einführung in die Bücherkunde zur deutschen Literatrwissenschaft. 11th ed. Sammlung Metzler 1. Stuttgart: Metzler, 1994.

Gibaldi, Joseph. MLA Style Manual and Guide to Scholarly Publishing. 2nd ed. New York: MLA, 1998.

Students may want to order the books from Germany on-line to save money. Raabe is also often available used (as is the MLA Style Manual), since it is a standard bibliographic tool. Copies of all should be available through University Bookstore.

Student learning goals

General method of instruction

Recommended preparation

Class assignments and grading


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.
Last Update by Stephanie N. Welch
Date: 10/22/2008