GERMAN LITERATURE I
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 aim of the course is to introduce to the main authors and movements of the German literature of the first part of the 20th century, contextualizing them in the complex cultural and political history.
The course allows the students:
- to come into contact with the principal authors, and current works of literature in the German language in the first part of the 20th century, considering historical context, politics, aesthetics.
- to become familiar with the literary text, both in Italian translation as in the original German version, appreciating the specific linguistic and structural complexity.
- to expand their knowledge on the subjects and texts dealt through the use of stand-alone bibliography.
- to Identify the salient features of the language of literature, putting them into the curriculum of their studies in order to capture the diversity and complexity of the concept of 'German language'.
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.
The course is intended as a presentation and discussion of
some of the authors and the most significant movements in German literature in the early part of the 20th century. The first series of lectures will explain the salient features of the poetical developments, with the sociological and historical literary scene in question. This period will be followed by the study of the consequences of productive tension between Modern Classic and avant-garde. Here we will proceed to the close reading and textual analysis - structure, style, ideological argument - of narrative, lyric and dramatic scenes taken from some of the most significant works of this period. The programme will be available both on the website of the Area of Foreign Languages and Literatures in paper form, and by the teacher at the end of the course.
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.
L. Crescenzi, La letteratura tedesca: secoli ed epoche, Carocci, Roma 2005, as an introduction to the periodization of German literature,
A.Venturelli, “L’età del moderno. La letteratura tedesca del primo Novecento (1900-1933)“, Carocci, Roma 2009, as a discussion on the authors and the most relevant aspects of the considered literary scene.
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 "didattica.unipr.it" 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.
The course will consist of lectures during which the works, in part provided by the teacher, will be introduced and analyzed. At the meantime the student learns how to deepen and extend in autonomy the content of the topics covered in class.
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.
The knowledge gained during the course will be assessed through an oral exam in Italian, which will ensure the following skills:
- knowledge of the movements, authors and works discussed in class and graded in their historical and cultural context;
- The processing capability of the course content, aimed at the formulation of judgments that also means the retrieval of information that expand the content itself;
- The ability to apply these skills to the analysis of literary texts, their contextualization in the historical and cultural origin and related issues;
- The oral proficiency in the German language corresponding to level B1 of the Common European Framework, demonstrated at the time of reading and translation into Italian of a short excerpt from a work of German literature of the period in question.
In the oral test will be adopted the following evaluation criteria:
- Evaluation insufficient, less than 18/30: lack of knowledge about basic content of the course, inability to articulate a proper Italian expression, to make independent judgments on issues and to recognize the specificity of literary texts, failure to reach the B1 level of the Common European Framework in oral proficiency in German.
- Sufficient assessment, from 18 to 23/30: demonstrated knowledge of the core content of the course, treating it in a proper Italian expression, ability to make independent judgments on the issues discussed recognizing the specificity of the literary text and to retrieve information that expand such content, reached level B1 of the Common European Framework in oral proficiency in German;
- good asessement, 24 to 27/30: fulfillment of the requirements listed above at a discrete level or good;
- High evaluation, between 28 and 30/30 with honors: fulfillment of the requirements listed above to an optimum level or excellent.