Learning outcomes of the course unit
The course introduces into a carefull study of the period between 1870 and 1933 by the analysis of literary texts of different periods and styles, but all with the same subject. On the basis of specific informations regarding the social-historical and literary-artistic problems the students will understand the evolution of a literary topic during the indicated period. Special attention will be dedicated to the history of Berlin. At the same time the students will acquire the characteristics of the literary movements of naturalism, expressionism and Neue Sachlichkeit.
During the course that will be held entirely in german language each student will choose from a list a theme related to the general topic to prepare on its own and to present afterwards in the course, always in german. To this behalf the professor is on the students disposal supervising them in their preparations, assisting them on finding supplementary material and guiding them in the correct use of german language. In this way the students will apply directly what they acquired during the lessons.
The student will exercise as well to communicate and to discuss contents, results of the own research and opinions in german, using an appropriate language register of literary studies, proving an elevated knowledge of the german language corresponding to le international level C2.
The student must have passed the exam of German literature I.
Course contents summary
The subject of the course is the image of the big city in the german literature during the period between the 19th and 20th century. The topic focusses on social-historical and literary-artistical questions of particular importance for the german culture of the period. The texts analysed during the course start with works of naturalism, followed by expressionistic poetry and finish with the movement of Neue Sachlichkeit.
Because there is no canonical anthology containing the most important examples, all the texts, mostly lyrics, are available on the internet learning platform LEA of the university. In addition to the textual base the course will make use of examples from painting and cinema to illustrate the topic. Authors treated from the period of naturalism and expressionism are Julius Hart, Emil Stadler, Armin T. Wegner, Georg Heym, Rainer Maria Rilke, Paul Zech, Alfred Wolkenstein. For the period of the Republic of Weimar will be examined texts from Erich Kästner, Kurt Tucholsky, Carl Zuckmayer, Walter Hasenclever, and Alfred Döblin. The selection of the texts concerns lyrics as well as prose, especially in the typical variety of the short form, and novels, for example “Berlin Alexanderplatz” of Döblin. Special attention will be dedicated to the figure of Siegfried Karcauer who is not only one of the main representatives with a great number of articles in the Frankfurter Zeitung, but had an eminent role as a theorist of the representation of the big city in the literature and the cinema.
Hier schreibt Berlin – Qui scrive Berlino. A cura di Stephan Oswald. Bologna 2004.
Sabina Becker: Urbanität und Moderne. Studien zur Großstadtwahrnehmung in der deutschen Literatur 1900-1930. St. Ingbert 1993.
During the classroom-lectures, partly held in german, will be introduced the historical and literary context, the authors and the texts, available from the internet learning platform LEA of the university. Due to the subject of the course the presentation of the texts will be accompanied with examples from painting, photography and cinema. Through the direct participation of the students presenting the results of their own research will be stimulated not only their capacity to elaborate a specific aspect of the general theme, but also how to present it to the other students, changing in this way the classical roles of student and teacher.
Assessment methods and criteria
The acquisition of knowledge and skills during the course will be verified by oral exam concerning the texts and authors treated as well as the period and the literary context. Part of the exam will be as well the capacity of the student to formulate appropriate judgments, to summarise complex questions and to identify characteristic elements of the literary movements treated. Due to the fact that the exam is hold partly in german, the student has to prove an adequate linguistic competence in the german language corresponding to the level C2, using an appropriate language register of literary studies.