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What is German Literature?

COURSES

Instructor
Term
  • Autumn
Subject Code
GERMAN
Course Number
131
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What is German Literature?

"What do the words "German" and "Germany" signify, and how have they changed since the first text in German was written down in the 8th century? What has it meant to read and write in German in the Middle Ages, the Early Modern period, 18th century Weimar, the Napoleonic Wars, Nazi Germany, or the GDR? How can ideas, stories, and poetry from the past be made meaningful for our understanding of our present? This course will approach these questions by giving a brief survey of the evolution, forms, genres, and periods of German literature. Students will read and discuss short literary masterpieces from the "Hildebrandslied" to the poetry of Bertolt Brecht. nThe course follows the chronology of German literature. The single sessions will focus on the ideas most characteristic for the period in question: What is "German"?; Courtly Love and Christian Culture; Reformation and Innovation; Enlightenment and Reason; The Notion of the "Classic"; Exploring Emotion; Nationhood and Revolution; The Aesthetics of Modernism; War and Exile; Division and Reunification. Taught in German.nPrerequisite: One year of German language at Stanford or equivalent.