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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Brigitte Prutti
GERMAN 580
Seattle Campus

Seminar in German Literature

Open topics seminar with varying content.

Class description

Travel Writing: Poetics and Practice

Mobility, both physical and virtual, is a key feature of modernity. This course examines the poetics and practice of geographic mobility in 20th and 21st century German literature. We will discuss both travel fiction and non-fictional travelogues. The course deals with literary portraits of nature tourism and Arctic exploration, contemporary road fiction and historical road trips, the lure of the Mediterranean and the Orientalist mystique of the North African city, the critical gaze of the postcolonial traveler etc. We will discuss the mobile subjects inside and outside of texts and their different kinds of endeavors. Questions include: Who are the travelers in these texts and what are their primary means of transportation? How does it shape their respective visions? What are the different kinds of boundaries crossed and the various contact zones envisioned? What are the non-places featured in these texts? What constitutes the cultural significance of their geographic directions and the mythical quality of their destinations? How do they convey the experiences of the traveling subjects and the encounters between self and Other? What are the literary frameworks they draw upon in portraying their observations and encounters? How do they frame the notions of departure and arrival? How do the travelogues construct their own authenticity? etc. Primary texts include Wolfgang Herrndorf: Tschick; Judith Hermann: Nichts als Gespenster; Anna Kim: Invasionen des Privaten; Christoph Ransmayr: Die Schrecken des Eises und der Finsternis; Elias Canetti: Die Stimmen von Marrakesch; Annemarie Schwarzenbach: Alle Wege sind offen. Die Reise nach Afghanistan 1939/40; Thomas Mann, Der Tod in Venedig.

Student learning goals

Students can expect to broaden their knowledge of modern German travel writing and to sharpen their analytical skills.

General method of instruction

Brief lectures and seminar discussion.

Recommended preparation

Class assignments and grading

Readings, Oral Presentations, Bibliography, Critcal Paper.

Course requirements include active participation in class discussions, brief oral presentations, an annotated bibliography, and a seminar paper (10-15 pages).


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 Brigitte Prutti
Date: 04/30/2012