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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Ellwood Wiggins
GERMAN 421
Seattle Campus

Studies in Eighteenth-Century Literature and Culture

Rotating special topics in literature and culture of the eighteenth century, such as particular movements, authors, genres, themes, or problems. Recommended: GERMAN 303; either GERMAN 311, GERMAN 312, GERMAN 322, or GERMAN 323.

Class description

The Enlightenment in Germany demonstratively kicked the Hanswurst (a raunchy, impromptu clown who actively engaged with the audience) off the stage, and ushered in an attempt to mold a "cultured" nation by means of the theatre. Despite many extreme differences, one thing all the successive 18th-century German literary movements—from sentimentalism and Sturm und Drang to Weimar Classicism and the early romantics—have in common is a desire to wrest control from the actor and put it in the hands of the playwright. In this course, we will explore the resounding successes (and instructive failures) of this dramatic turn in theatrical practice. We will conduct close readings (and imaginative stagings) of plays by Lessing, Goethe, Schiller, and Kleist. We will also consider the plays in their historical and cultural contexts, and study contemporary theoretical essays on the function of drama.

Student learning goals

General method of instruction

Readings and classroom discussion in German; writing assignments in English.

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 Ellwood Wiggins
Date: 09/24/2013