Posted by: gdevi | November 24, 2014

English 499: German Literature after Romanticism

English 499 (I. S.): German Literature after Romanticism (L. Middleton, A. Shirk, N. Simpson), Spring 2015

In this course, we will read select texts from the end of German Romanticism through the high period of literary Modernism and Postmodernism. Our focus will be to explicate the evolution, development and transformation of an ineluctable, indescribable, and metaphysical essence that permeated German literature of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. While this “indescribable” manifests itself as the supernatural, the transcendent or the fantastic in the tales of E. T. A. Hoffman and Goethe, its paradigmatic feature was explicated by Sigmund Freud in his essay “The Uncanny” (1919): the anti-rational, the emotional; and an aesthetic reception of fear, uncertainty, and anxiety.  We shall chart the embodiment of the uncanny in the tales of E. T. A. Hoffman (The Sandman (1817), in particular), through selections from Goethe’s Faust (1831), Brecht’s Three Penny Opera (1928), Heinrich Boll’s The Lost Honor of Katharina Blum (1974), and Christa Wolf’s Cassandra (1983).

Required Texts

Sigmund Freud, The Uncanny

E. T. A. Hoffman, The Best Tales of E. T. A. Hoffman

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Faust. Selections from Parts 1 and 2

Bertolt Brecht, Three Penny Opera

Heinrich Boll, The Lost Honor of Katharina Blum

Christa Wolf, Cassandra


Reader responses –  5 (4-5 pages)

Term papers – 2 (12-15 pages)


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