Past Undergraduate Courses

Berlin in Fragments.
GRMN 23715

Berlin at the turn of the 19th century was the epicenter of Germany’s rapid urbanization and industrialization, and as such it became a privileged site for observing and experiencing modernity. One of the most prominent features of life in the modern metropolis, as noted by contemporaries, was its fragmentary character, both in social terms—the atomization of society as a whole—and in mental terms—the psychic instability of the atomized individual. This course explores a variety of critical and artistic responses to fragmentation: critical efforts to render the fragmented urban landscape legible, and literary and other artistic efforts to explore the potentialities of fragmentation through innovative forms and techniques. The main part of the course will focus on the Weimar period: literature, film and criticism of the Golden Twenties. Afterwards we will turn to short fiction, poetry, and film of post-unification Berlin. Authors include Carl Sternheim, Walter Benjamin, Siegfried Kracauer, Joseph Roth, Alfred Döblin, Georg Heym, Jacob von Hoddis, Alfred Lichtenstein, Gottfried Benn, Bertolt Brecht, Durs Grünbein, and Tanja Dückers. Films by Joe May, Walther Ruttman, Fritz Lang. Readings and discussions in German.
Spring 2017, Colin Benert.

Thomas Mann’s Joseph and His Brothers.
GRMN 25117, FNDL 25100

Thomas Mann’s novel Joseph and His Brothers, a modern rewriting of the biblical story, was written over sixteen years (1926 - 1943) that shook German and European history through the assumption of power by the National Socialist party and the Second World War. Mann began the novel under the Weimar Republic and continued working on the novel in exile. The writer himself saw his novel as an act of resistance to his country’s anti-Semitic policies. In this course, we will closely read the novel, explore its relation to its biblical and other sources, learn about the history of its writing and publication and contextualize its genesis in Mann’s complicated involvement with German and world politics.
Spring 2017, Olga Solovieva

W.G. Sebald: On The Natural History of Destruction.
GRMN 25817/35817, FNDL 25817

The difficulty of categorizing the sort of literary practice Sebald engaged in is notorious. The genres and hybrid styles with which his “novels” have been identified include: travel writing, memoir, photo essay, documentary fiction, magical realism, postmodern pastiche, cultural-historical fantasy, among others. And given the fact that his work so often deals, if only indirectly, with the Holocaust and its aftershocks, his work has furthermore been associated with that highly problematic generic and historical constellation, “Holocaust literature.” The seminar will address all of Sebald’s major works in the hope of elucidating this singular intersection of historical and literary complexity. Texts will be available in English and German, discussion will be held in English. We will “accompany” our reading of Sebald with a reading of Lucretius’s poem, On Nature.
Spring 2017, Eric Santner.

Opera in the Age of its Mechanical Reproducibility.
GRMN 27717/37717, TAPS 28422/38422, MUSI 24417/34417, CMST 28301/38301

Focusing on a diverse set of productions of Mozart’s *The Magic Flute* by Ingmar Bergman, William Kentridge, Martin Kusej, Simon McBurney, and Julie Taymor, we will seek to locate opera in the contemporary medial landscape, exploring some of the theoretical stakes, dramaturgical challenges, and interpretive achievements that characterize opera on film, DVD, and via live-streaming.  Readings by W. Benjamin, T.W. Adorno, F. Jameson, M. Dolar, C. Abbate, P. Auslander, et al.
Spring 2017, David Levin.

Literature of the Occupation.
GRMN 26700, NORW 26700

The German Occupation of Norway, which lasted from April 9, 1940 to May 7, 1945, is indisputably the most significant event in modern Norwegian history. The aim of this course is to use literature of and about this period to characterize the Occupation experience in Norway.  While our texts come primarily from Norwegians, one novel is German and two others, American.  Given the context for these works, we will consider them not only as fiction, but also as history and even propaganda.  Ultimately, we will address the issue of national myth-making: to what extent have Norwegians mythologized their occupation experience and is this apparent in our texts?
Winter 2017, Kimberly Kenny.

Metaphysics, Morbidity, and Modernity: Thomas Mann’s The Magic Mountain.
GRMN 27517, CMLT 27517, FNDL 27517

Our main task in this course is to explore in detail one of the most significant novels of the twentieth century, Thomas Mann’s The Magic Mountain. But this novel is also a window onto the entirety of modern European thought and it provides, at the same time, a telling perspective of the crisis of European culture prior to and following on World War I. It is, in Thomas Mann’s formulation, a time-novel: a novel about its time, but also a novel about human being in time. For anyone interested in the configuration of European intellectual life in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, Mann’s great (and challenging) novel is indispensible reading. Lectures will relate Mann’s novel to its great European counterparts (e.g., Proust, Joyce, Musil), to the traditions of European thought from Voltaire to Georg Lukacs, from Schopenhauer to Heidegger, from Marx to Max Weber. This is a lecture course with discussion sections. All readings in English.
Winter 2017, David Wellbery.

Becoming Nothing.
GRMN 24916.

This course closely examines three famous characters of German Modernist prose, famous above all for the way each of them embodies and calls into question the fraught task of becoming a healthy, happy member of modern society.  Franz Kafka’s performance artist in DerHungerkünstler wants nothing more than to starve himself into obscurity, Robert Walser’s main character in Jakob von Gunten is a student who aspires to become “an adorable, spherical zero,” and Irmgard Keun’s Das kunstseidene Mädchen tells the story of a young woman in the Weimar Republic who aspires to become “glamour” and ends up contending with dismal poverty and the threat of prostitution.  In addition to reading these literary works, we will work on unfolding the historical context and the philosophical significance reflected in the crisis of individuality faced by each of these characters.  Materials include several film adaptions and theoretical texts by Friedrich Nietzsche, Siegfried Kracauer, and Niklas Luhmann.  Readings and discussions in German.
Autumn 2016, Marcus Lampert.

Dwelling: Literature and Architecture.
GRMN 25516

In this course, we will examine peculiar scenes of dwelling – such as the labyrinthine home of Kafka’s “The Burrow” or the anatomical architectures in Musil’s stories.  We will explore the function of spatial structures beyond their role as passive backdrops: What is their narrative function? What role do they play in knowledge-formation? Most importantly, we will redirect our gaze from a study of dwelling understood as a spatial location to an examination of dwelling as a spatial action: What does it mean to inhabit a space? What is habitation? How can we conceptualize the role of the guest and the neighbor in inhabiting? How is the relationship between house and nature, home and environment articulated in literary dwellings? What is the relation between large-scale habitation (in a city) and small-scale habitation (in a room)? These and other questions will guide our readings of Freud, Benjamin, Heidegger, Bachelard, Rilke, Kafka, Derrida, etc. Films by Ursula Meier and Tevfik Başer. This course will take place in conjunction with a conference on “Literary Habitation” organized in the Autumn Quarter. Taught in English.
Autumn 2016, Ingrid Christian.

Authority and Enjoyment.
GRMN 26816/36816

A far reaching distrust and crisis of authority seems to be coextensive with the European Enlightenment and modernity—but what is authority? At least one thing is certain: our relation to authority is never simple and straightforward, but is the site of intense fantasmatic activity, mixing guilt, defiance, respect, resentment, terror, justice, and love. The word itself is highly evocative, and part of its power lies in the halo of images and meanings it conjures. This seminar will examine a series of questions: Why are we so invested in authority? Can authority be avoided by more inclusive horizontal organizations, or is it inevitably bound up with the social link and even the structure of language itself (the symbolic order)? To what extent is the father the paradigmatic instance of authority, and are we living the end of patriarchy or do we rather witness the return of the father? How has the figure of the master changed under capitalism, and in what new forms does authority appear today? If authority is neither inherently “bad” nor “good,” what use may be made of it for individual and collective emancipation?

Readings will include: Walter Benjamin on language and judgment; Hannah Arendt on the crisis of authority; Alexandre Kojève’s The Notion of Authority which analyzes its four ideal types (Father, Judge, Leader, Master); Jean Genet’s play The Balcony, dealing with the comedy of modern authority; the fantastical figure of the father in the work of Franz Kafka; and the vicissitudes of the Oedipus complex in psychoanalytic theory, focusing on Sigmund Freud (Three Essays on the Theory of Sexuality) and Jacques Lacan (Seminar VIII Transference). We will also watch Lars Von Trier’s The Boss of It All, Andrey Zvyagintsev’s The Return, and Nicholas Ray’s Rebel Without a Cause.
Autumn 2016, Aaron Schuster.

Yiddish Literature Between the World Wars.
GRMN 25116/35116, YDDH 25116/35116, JWSC 25116

This course provides an introduction to the major authors, themes, and literary styles of Yiddish prose between the two World Wars. In the wake of WWI—or “The Catastrophe” as it was known in Yiddish—writers tried to make sense of the new cultural, linguistic and political landscapes with which they were met. The result is a body of texts in which discharged soldiers, urban migrants, struggling poets, committed communists and dissolving rabbinical dynasties compete for power and attention. We will examine these issues in texts produced in the shifting centers of Yiddish modernism: Moscow, Berlin, Warsaw and New York. We begin with Sholem Aleichem’s Tevye the Dairyman, published as the First World War was coming to an end and we conclude with a novel by Yankev Glatshteyn, published only months after the German invasion of Poland. This discussion-based course will presume no previous knowledge of Yiddish literature or language. Taught in English. Yiddish readers will meet for an additional weekly session.
Spring 2016, Sunny Yudkoff.

GRMN 26316/36316

In this course we explore figures and figurations of waiting. We will concentrate on moments of deceleration and distraction; on representations of passivity, abeyance, and postponement. By studying characters who hesitate and cannot act, we will examine the nature of action, decision, and event. Furthermore, we will ask what kind of temporality underlies waiting. By tracing waiters in their many incarnations, we will ask whether it is possible to make out an advantage (epistemological, emotional, etc.) to this temporal stance and the negative connotations it usually invokes. Wherein lies the promise of waiting and inaction? Readings include: Schiller, Schlegel, Novalis, Eichendorff, Büchner, Nietzsche, Kracauer, Blanchot. Course will be conducted in English.
Spring 2016, Ingrid Christian.

Acrobatics of Reading: Kafka's Short Prose.
GRMN 24116,  FNDL 24116
Using Kafka’s short prose as a test case, this course investigates the relationship between two things: First, the acrobatics performed in and by the texts that not only feature a cast of tightrope walkers, hunger artists, bucket riders, and other performers, but can more generally be read as a series of kinetic experiments involving plot, description, imagery, sound, or grammar. Second, the acrobatics it takes us, the readers, to engage these texts—demanding a similar artistry of performance that includes highly flexible, improbable, and often risky maneuvers. Readings and discussion in German.
Winter 2016, Florian Klinger.

Writing the Jewish Body: Health, Disease, Literature.
GRMN 24216, YDDH 24216, JWSC 20222

This course investigates the representation of the Jewish body in twentieth-century prose. We will focus on the European, American and Israeli contexts, exploring how the figures of health and illness are mobilized as commentaries on Jewish identity. We will also consider how representations of physical strength, physiological frailty, contagion and susceptibility shift in different landscapes and in different languages, paying particular attention to such figures as the ailing shtetl dweller, the Central European Jewish patient and the Zionist “New Jew.” Readings include works by Mendele Mocher Sforim, Franz Kafka, Philip Roth and Orly Castel-Bloom in conversation with theoretical texts by Susan Sontag, Walter Benjamin and Arthur Kleinman. All readings are in English. A section may be organized for reading sources in Yiddish.
Winter 2016, Sunny Yudkoff.

Biocentrism: The Concept of Life in German Literature and Art Around 1900.
GRMN 24416, ARTH 24416

This course explores the notion of life broadly understood, drawing on texts from a variety of disciplines (literature, philosophy, art history, biology) as well as on artworks that reflect on the concept of life. How did artists and writers conceive of the process of life? How did they situate life in relation to movement? How do notions of the organic/inorganic, material/spiritual organize writers’ and artists’ understanding of life? How did scientific and cultural currents such as organicism, vitalism, constructivism influence literary and aesthetic practices and theoretical frameworks? What are the networks of exchange between literature, the arts, and the emerging life sciences in the period? These and other questions will be grounded in close consideration of works by Aristotle, Nietzsche, Freud, Rilke, Woolf, Kafka, Benjamin, Haeckel, Murnau, Kandinsky, Klee, Mies.
Winter 2016, Ingrid Christian.

Comparative Fairy Tales.
GRMN 28500, NORW 28500, HUMA 28400

For some, fairy tales count as sacred tales meant to enchant rather than edify. For others, they are cautionary tales, replete with obvious moral lessons. Critics have come to apply all sorts of literary approaches to fairy tale texts, ranging from stylistic analyses to psychoanalytical and feminist readings. For the purposes of this course, we assume that these critics are correct in their contention that fairy tales contain essential underlying meanings. We conduct our own readings of fairy tales from the German Brothers Grimm; the Norwegians, Asbjørnsen and Moe; and the Dane, Hans Christian Andersen. We rely on our own critical skills as well as on selected secondary readings.
Winter 2016, Kimberly Kenny.

Literature as Trial.
GRMN 28815/38815, CMLT 28815/38815, SCTH 38816

The affinities between literary and judicial practice seem as old as literature itself. Countless literary works take the form of a trial, revolve around a case or trial scene, or negotiate competing ways of seeing and talking. What is the relationship between judgment and poetic form? Can "trial" be understood as a distinct form of discourse? What role can the literary play in the legal process? Is there a privileged relationship between the trial and the dramatic genre? Can literature be a training for judgment? Are there specifically poetic forms of justice? Readings include Sophocles, Dante, Shakespeare, Kleist, Kafka, Arendt, Weiss, Derrida, Coetzee.
Autumn 2015, Florian Klinger.

Berlin in Fragments.
GRMN 23715.
Berlin at the turn of the 19th century was the epicenter of Germany’s rapid urbanization and industrialization, and as such it became a privileged site for observing and experiencing modern society. One of the most prominent features of life in the metropolis, as noted by contemporaries, was its fragmentary character, which was registered both in the atomization of society as a whole and in the psychic instability of the atomized individual. This course explores a variety of critical and artistic responses to fragmentation: critical efforts to render the fragmented urban landscape legible, and literary and other artistic efforts to explore the potentialities of fragmentation through innovative forms and techniques. The main part of the course will focus on the Weimar period: literature, film and criticism of the Golden Twenties. Afterwards we will turn to short fiction, poetry, and film of post-unification Berlin. Authors include Walter Benjamin, Siegfried Kracauer, Joseph Roth, Alfred Döblin, Georg Heym, Jacob von Hoddis, Alfred Lichtenstein, Bertolt Brecht, Durs Grünbein, Judith Hermann. Films by Walther Ruttman, Fritz Lang, Wolfgang Becker. Readings and discussions in German.
Spring 2015, Colin Benert.

Catching Spies.
GRMN 25215
How do we account for 20th century literature's fascination with spies and spying? How do we explain the emergence of this new literary subject with the inauguration of the new century? This course will examine the place the figure of the spy holds for twentieth-century imagination as reflected in literature, theater and film. It will suggest that the spy becomes a locus of fascination for literature when overlooked by the disciplines charged with regulating his actions. In positing espionage literature and film as a response to the law's impossibility of address we will establish the potential the figure of the spy holds to respond to an array of questions relating to identity and subjectivity through such tropes as homelessness and border crossing, sexual difference, theatricality and masquerade, technology and voyeurism. 
Spring 2015, Tamar Abramov.

Crisis Narratives in Recent German Literature and Media.
GRMN 24815. 

This course focuses on crisis narratives in recent German literature and media. By looking closely at texts and images, we will investigate different types of crises (language, identity, finance, climate, etc.) What is the language of crises? What is their verbal and visual rhetoric? We will: analyze textual and visual strategies for evoking crises; trace how crises reveal the persistence of irrational elements in highly technologized forms of contemporary life; and examine how they determine the way we experience and remember events.  Furthermore, we will study the relationship between crises and their various media: poem, play, novel, survival guide, painting, photograph, film, etc.  Readings include Walter Benjamin, Paul Celan, Thomas Bernhard, Peter Handke, Alexander Kluge, Kathrin Röggla, Don DeLillo, H. M. Enzensberger, W.G. Sebald, Dietmar Dath.  Readings and discussions in German.
Winter 2015, Ingrid Christian.

Beauty and Mourning.
GRMN 23914.  

Throughout the cultural history of the West, there seems to be a structural connection between beauty and mourning that reaches from popular fiction to philosophical reflection on the subject: Beauty, it seems, has mourning and pain as its integral part; precisely that which pleases us most moves us to tears – a topical experience that requires no other losses and pains than those induced by beauty itself. What is it that gets mourned in beauty? Is mourning beautiful? Do we mourn the beauty we cannot have? Is beauty something like the mourning of itself? The class analyzes different aspects of the juncture beauty/mourning by drawing on exemplary texts mostly from poetry and philosophy, but also on writing on art, psychoanalysis, and music. (Plato, Ovid, Petrarch, Goethe, Hölderlin, Hegel, Nietzsche, Lorca, Warburg, Freud, Rilke, Brecht, Celan, Plath etc.) 
Autumn 2014, Florian Klinger.

Seriously Funny: Comedy, Critique and Transformation. 
GRMN 26014, CMLT 26014.  
“True earnestness itself invents the comic,” according to Søren Kierkegaard. Exploring philosophies of the comic, as well as filmic and literary material, this seminar seeks to investigate what may be called the serious core of comedy. First, some fundamental theories of comedy, humor and laughter will be introduced. These range from perspectives of supremacy, relief, shallowness or negligibility (especially when compared to the tragic), the mechanic, the lowly/corporeal, to theories of incongruity. We will then focus on the critical, transformative and political potentials of the comic / comedy: Ways in which comedy copes with chance and contingencies; with strategies of resistance and inversion in face of disproportionately more powerful opponents; the comic as a mode of inclusion and exclusion; comedy and its relation to freedom and to the sublime; comedy as a means to exceed, undermine and open up boundaries; the comic as an attempt to get to grips with situations and events we cannot (fully) master. We will also discuss limits and complications of any such critical potential. Readings may include texts by S. Freud, I. Kant, G.W.F. Hegel, F. Th. Vischer, Jean Paul, Søren Kierkegaard, Mikhail Bakhtin, Henri Bergson, Judith Butler, Alenka Zupančič and others; films include works by Ernst Lubitsch and Woody Allen. Some reading knowledge of German is desirable, but not a course requirement. 
Autumn 2014, Birte Loschenkohl.

Faust, Myth of the Modern World. 
GRMN 27114, CMLT 27114. 

In this course, we will consider three renderings of the Faust myth: Johann Wolfgang von Goethe’s Faust, Part One, Heinrich Heine’s “dance poem” Faust, and Friedrich Murnau’s expressionist film Faust. In addition to these core readings/viewings, we will study the origins of the Faust myth in sixteenth-century Germany and survey its many transformations across art, literature, and music. This course is an excellent introduction to the history of German literature and culture. All readings and class discussions will be in German.
Autumn 2014, David Wellbery.

Munich-Chicago Performance Laboratory: Jephta’s Daughter.  
GRMN 28914/38914, RLST 28914, RLIT 38914, TAPS 28417, MUSI 28914/38914.
In July, 2015, the Bavarian State Opera in Munich will present the world premiere of a piece tentatively titled Jephta’s Daughter to be directed by Saar Magal and conceived by Magal in collaboration with U of C Professor David Levin.  In the autumn quarter, Magal and Levin will offer a laboratory course in which to prepare the piece.  As presently conceived, the piece will combine theater, dance, oratorio, film, contemporary composition, and a variety of contemporary performance idioms to adapt and interrogate the story of Jephta’s daughter (in the Book of Judges, from which the story is adapted, she remains nameless). We are hoping to attract students keen to explore a broad cross-section of materials through seminar-style discussion and experimentation on stage (we will work through biblical criticism, films like Harmony Korine’s Spring Breakers (2013) or Ulrich Seidl’s Paradise: Love-Faith-Hope, operas like Mozart’s Idomeneo, oratorios like Handel’s Jephta and Carrisimi’s Jephte, and a range of critical theory, including Rene Girard’s Violence and the Sacred and Derek Hughes’ Culture and Sacrifice).  Stage work will encompass improvisational, physical, and text-based work.  Students with an interest in any of the following are especially welcome: adaptation, theater practice, performance theory, dramaturgy, design, and/or directing. Undergraduate students require consent of instructor.
Autumn 2014, David Levin and Saar Magal (Choreographer and Director, Tel Aviv).

GRMN 21403/31403.
This course develops advanced German skills through the study of philosophical texts of various authors from different periods. The thematic focus is language: the linguistic production of meaning and the relationship between language and conceptuality. Students will develop their ability to discuss and analyze philosophical issues in speech and in writing. Students will also build philosophical vocabulary, review advanced grammatical structures, and familiarize themselves with more complex sentence structures. Texts by Wittgenstein, Frege, Nietzsche, Heidegger, Kant, Schopenhauer, Habermas, and Adorno, and one text chosen by the student for the final project. 
Spring 2014, Colin Benert.

Berlin—Vienna: De/con/structing National Identity.
GRMN 26815
While the process of coming to terms with the past (‘Vergangenheitsbewältigung’) was already well underway in West Germany when the Berlin Wall came down in 1989, the reunification spurred a renewed interest in re-examining the Nazi past in both East and West Germany.  Not entirely coincidental, the same applies to Austria’s confrontation with its own past in light of the commemorative year (‘Bedenkjahr’) 1988 , marking the 50th anniversary of the annexation of Austria into the ‘Third Reich’ (‘Anschluss’). Since Berlin and Vienna were the two political as well as cultural centers of the ‘Third Reich’ and thus at the heart of questions of the self-understanding of Germans and Austrians, we will pay close attention to their respective cultural scenes around 1989 while examining various notions of German and Austrian identity 50 years after the war broke out. Not an inborn trait, national identity is a complex phenomenon — a sense of belonging to a certain state or nation that is developed through determining factors, among them psychology, society, politics, and culture. Apart from philosophical (Fichte, Hegel, Heidegger) and early literary (Hölderlin, Kleist) accounts of what it means to be German, this course will focus on close readings of pre-millennial artistic achievements in German and Austrian theater, film and the fine arts. We will engage with plays by Heiner Müller and Thomas Brasch (East and West Berlin), Elfriede Jelinek and Thomas Bernhard (Vienna), films by Wim Wenders (“Der Himmel über Berlin”) and Margarethe von Trotta, paintings by Georg Baselitz and Gerhard Richter as well as additional theoretical readings by Theodor W. Adorno and Hannah Arendt. Readings and discussions in German. Prerequisites: Third year of German or instructor’s consent.
Spring 2014, Bastian Reinert. 

Thinking Tragedy: Nietzsche’s Geburt der Tragödie.
GRMN 28714, FNDL 25202, TAPS 28442.
The Focus of this seminar exploring (German) theories of tragedy will be Friedrich Nietzsche’s Birth of Tragedy. In order to understand better this work’s iconoclasm, we will first survey some of the more seminal theorizations of the tragic genre starting with Aristotle, but concentrate on the contributions of German idealist philosophers and thinkers such as Schiller, Hegel, and Schelling, before we then turn to a close critical reading of Nietzsche’s text. Readings and discussions in English. 
Spring 2014, Christopher Wild.

Identity and Crisis: Readings in Narrative German Forms.
GRMN 24714/34714. 
This course is concerned with close readings of texts which are marked by a deep preoccupation with the concept of crisis and the consequent efforts to achieve and maintain individual identity as a buttress against a world in flux – discursively, politically, philosophically and ethically. The readings will revolve around the possibilities for being in the world as an engaged and self-contained narrative subject. We will work to develop a concept of ‘crisis’ as an organizational topos for 20th-century literature from Hugo von Hofmannsthal’s Chandos-Brief (1902) to W.G. Sebald’s The Emigrants (1992). The relationships between perspective and voice, exile and memory, language and knowledge, and genre and story construction will be of particular importance for textual analysis and may be supplemented by additional theoretical readings. 
Winter 2014, Alicia Ellis.

Comparative Fairy Tale. 
GRMN 28500, NORW 28500, HUMA 28400.

For some, fairy tales count as sacred tales meant to enchant rather than edify. For others, they are cautionary tales, replete with obvious moral lessons. Critics have come to apply all sorts of literary approaches to fairy tale texts, ranging from stylistic analyses to psychoanalytical and feminist readings. For the purposes of this course, we assume that these critics are correct in their contention that fairy tales contain essential underlying meanings. We conduct our own readings of fairy tales from the German Brothers Grimm; the Norwegians, Asbjørnsen and Moe; and the Dane, Hans Christian Andersen. We rely on our own critical skills as well as on selected secondary readings. 
Winter 2014, Kimberly Kenny. 

Music in the German Imagination.
GRMN 23613, MUSI 27813.
What does music mean? This question grew urgent in the late 18th-century, as a range of German-speaking writers came to celebrate music as a “language beyond language” – an art-form that ostensibly contained “deeper” or “higher” meanings than verbal language. In this course we examine through close reading a range of music narratives that plumb the depths of music, while also situating each narrative in the context of German social and political history. We explore how perspectives on music’s significance shifted together with the seismic changes that took place in German society between the French Revolution and WWI. Readings include works of fiction by E. T. A. Hoffmann, Heinrich von Kleist, Franz Grillparzer, Eduard Mörike, Richard Wagner, Thomas Mann, and Franz Kafka, as well as brief excerpts of critical works by A. B. Marx, Richard Wagner, and Theodor Adorno.
Autumn 2013, Colin Benert.

Anagnorisis and the Cognitive Work of Theater.
GRMN 26913/36913, CMLT 26913/36913, CLAS 25513/355134, TAPS 28441.

In the Poetics Aristotle conceives anagnorisis or recognition as one of the three constitutive parts of the dramatic plot and defines it as the “a change from ignorance (agnoia) to knowledge (gnosis).” Implying the rediscovery of something previously known anagnorisis refers to the emplotment and staging of a certain kind of cognitive work characteristic of theater (as a locus of theoria or theory). For recognition is not only required of the dramatis personae on stage but also of the spectators who need to (re)-cognize a character whenever s/he enters. Just as the characters’ anagnorisis is not restricted to the filiation, i.e. identity, of other characters the audience’s cognition concerns the understanding the plot as a whole. In short, by focusing on anagnorisis we can gain insight in the specific cognitive work of theater (and drama). Naturally we will begin in antiquity and examine the instantiation of recognition in Homer’s Odyssey and several Greek tragedies as well as its first theorization in Aristotle’s Poetics. Then we will jump to the moderns, specifically Enlightenment theater’s obsession with anagnorisis and the cognitive work it performs, and investigate dramas by Diderot and Lessing. Kleist’s dramatic deconstructions of German bourgeois and classical theater test the Enlightenment’s claim to reason and reform of human cognition. Our last stop will be Brecht’s theater of “Entfremdung” that makes the alienation at the heart of anagnorisis into the centerpiece of his aesthetic and political project. If we have time, we will also take a look at comical recognition as self-reflection of its tragic counterpart. Readings and discussions in English.
Autumn 2013, Christopher Wild.

Rilke, Sonnets to Orpheus.
GRMN 27813/37813. 

This seminar will engage in close readings of Rilke’s famous volume of poems. Supplementary readings will address some of the fundamental issues raised by the poems: the sonorous universe of poetry and the nature of the voice; the “Orphic” dimension of poetry; the religious and profane meanings of praise in relation to mourning. We will furthermore compare the treatment of the voice by Rilke with its treatment by another Prague writer: Franz Kafka.  Excellent reading knowledge of German required. 
Autumn 2013, Eric Santner.

Symbolic Economies: Marx, Freud.
GRMN 24013. 
How does Marx's understanding of capitalist economic relations stand with respect to Freud's understanding of what he referred to as the "libidinal economy" of the mind? How does Marx's understanding of surplus value relate to Freud's understanding of the drives (and vice versa)? In this course we will investigate these questions and, more generally, the peculiar ways in which Marxist and Freudian thought intersect around questions of value, labor, embodiment, and desire.
Spring 2013, Eric Santner.  

Modern Rewritings of the Gospel Narratives.
GRMN 24413/34413, CMLT 24409/34409, RLST 28809/RLIT 34400.

This interdisciplinary course focuses on the literary dimension of the gospels and on their artistic reception in modern culture. Starting from a presentation of narrative theory, it asks whether religious and secular narratives differ in structure, and illuminates narrative conventions of different media and genres. Both thematic aspects (what aspects of the gospels are selected for development in modern adaptations?) and features of presentation (how do different media and styles transform similar content?) will be considered. Principal works include Johann Sebastian Bach, The Passion According to St. Matthew (1720); Ernest Renan, The Life of Jesus (1865); Nikos Kazantzákis, The Last Temptation of Christ (1955); Pasolini, The Gospel According to Matthew (1964); José Saramago, The Gospel According to Jesus Christ (1991); Norman Mailer, The Gospel According to the Son (1997); and Monty Python, Life of Brian (1979). Secondary readings include Mieke Bal, Narratology, and Bultmann, History of the Synoptic Tradition
Spring 2013, Olga Solovieva.

Fairy Tales and the Fantastic.
GRMN 25413. 

This course will study fairy tales within the broader context of the history of childhood and practices of education and socialization.  Therefore, we will address issues such as the varying historical conceptions of the child, and the role of adults – parents and pedagogues – in the shaping of fairy tales for the instruction of children.  In addition to our main focus on the socializing forces directed at children we will explore different interpretive approaches, including those that place fairy tales against the backdrop of folklore, of literary history, of psychoanalysis, of the history of gender roles. While we will consider fairy tales drawn from a number of different national traditions and historical periods, we will concentrate on the German context and in particular on Jakob and Wilhelm Grimm’s contribution to this genre.  In order to reflect on the specific mediality of fairy tales, we will examine the evolution of specific tale types and trace their history from oral traditions through print to film.  Last but not least, we will have to consider the potential strategies for reinterpreting and rewriting a genre that continues to shape the cultural imaginary today. Readings and discussions in English (German texts will be available in the original).
Spring 2013, Christopher Wild.

Theater and Politics: The Case of Friedrich Schiller.
GRMN 25813.
At the turn of the 18th to the 19th century, Friedrich Schiller’s works set out to investigate the logic of wholesale changes, ruptures and transformations: coups d’états and conspiracies, intrigues and plots, rebellions and the decay of seemingly permanent powers and empires. His dramas set out a large-scale Theatrum politicum to work through different relations of public and private, order and disorder, reason and instinct, the power of law, and the contingency of life. It seems that this analytical treatment of the political realm is precisely what made Schiller’s dramas widely attractive to a post-war generation of stage directors in Germany who were instrumental in the development of Regietheater or director’s theater.  This seminar examines a selection of Schiller’s major dramatic works – Die Räuber (1781), Kabale und Liebe (1784), Don Karlos (1787/1805), Wallenstein (1800) and Wilhelm Tell (1804) – not only in the political and aesthetic context of their creation, but also in light of their mise-en-scène in the 20th and 21st century. Selected writings by political theorists such as Carl Schmitt, Ernst Bloch, Theodor W. Adorno, Jürgen Habermas, and Giorgio Agamben will help to identify some of the key political ideas and concepts at stake in Schiller’s plays.  In addition to the readings, the seminar will discuss screenings of major German post-war stage adaptations of Schiller, such as Fritz Kortner’s Kabale und Liebe (Berlin, 1955), Frank Castorf’s Räuber (Berlin, 1992) and Rimini Protokoll’s Wallenstein (2005). Readings are predominantly in English, discussion in German (please contact the instructor to learn more about the language prerequisites). 
Spring 2013, Jan Lazardzig.

The German Romantic Lied.
GRMN 25013. 

In the romantic genre of the German Lied, music and poetry meet with a precision, complexity and affective intensity unheard of since the times of medieval Minnesang. At the center of this undergraduate seminar is the relationship of Robert Schumann and Heinrich Heine and their cycle “Dichterliebe,” supplemented by Schumann’s rendering of other poets’ work (for example, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe or Joseph von Eichendorff). The larger context of Lied-making the class also seeks to explore is formed by pieces by Ludwig van Beethoven, Franz Schubert, Felix Mendelsohn Bartholdy, and Johannes Brahms. Readings and discussions in German.
Winter 2013, Florian Klinger.

Discovering Scandinavia, c. 1500-1800.
GRMN 26713/36713, HIST 23311/33311.

This course gives an overview of the early modern history of Sweden, Denmark, and Norway, that is, from the time of the protestant reformation to the age of Enlightenment. The key word in our context is “discovery." In the course of this period, the popular culture, nature, and history of the Northern countries were explored and conceptualized in science, government, and travel. We will study the interconnections between knowledge, power, and curiosity in this process through readings of recent historical literature and original sources. No knowledge of Scandinavian languages required. 
Winter 2013, Erling Sandmo.

Radical Truth of Henrik Ibsen. 
NORW 28100, GRMN 28100.
In this course we will focus on what one modern Ibsen scholar has called the “radical truth” at the center of Ibsen’s dramas, examining nine of Ibsen’s prose plays in our own modern context. Do Ibsen’s works continue to resonate with new generations of readers and viewers? Do we still see the “radical truth” of his plays? 
Winter 2013, Kimberly Kenny.

Lohengrin Laboratory: Opera, Dramaturgy, and Stage Practice.  
GRMN 29113/39113, TAPS 28436, MUSI 29113/39113.
In 2014, the International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE) will stage a production of Salvatore Sciarrino's Lohengrin directed by Majel Connery, Executive Director of Opera Cabal, an experimental opera company based in New York City and Chicago. This team-taught, interdisciplinary seminar will serve as a laboratory for the production. The first half of the class explores in depth the work’s genesis (Wagner’s opera, *Lohengrin*) and subsequent adaptation (a short story by Symbolist poet Jules Laforgue which, in turn, is re-adapted for opera by Sciarrino).  As a class we will cultivate a fluency with the theoretical stakes of these multiple *Lohengrins* (including Alain Badiou’s and Adorno’s writings on Wagner, Michel Poizat on voice, and Slavoj Zizek/Mladen Dolar on opera, voice and the gaze) in order, finally, to develop a suite of mini-Lohengrins—group-based scenic reflections and solutions. No previous experience staging opera is expected, although an interest in exploring the intersection of textual exegesis, conceptual analysis, and stage practice is essential.  Students with an interest in any of the following are especially welcome: contemporary music, performance theory, dramaturgy, design, and/or directing.  Instructors: Majel Connery (Executive Director, Opera Cabal, NYC/Chicago) and David Levin (Germanic Studies, Theater & Performance Studies, Cinema and Media Studies, and Director of the Gray Center for Arts and Inquiry).
Winter 2013, David Levin and Majel Connery.

Masterpieces of Scandinavian Literature.
NORW 24712, GRMN 24712, CMLT 24712.
This course examines a selection of literary texts from the Nordic countries - novels, plays, short stories, poems - by writers that figure prominently in the respective national canons and are also acclaimed internationally. It starts with the onset of modernism in the late 19th century represented by Henrik Ibsen and the young Knut Hamsun, continues with the great narrators of the 20th century including Karen Blixen, Halldór Laxness, and Vilhelm Moberg, and concludes around the millennium with playwright Jon Fosse, and the new voices of the novelists Linn Ullmann and Jonas Hassem Khemiri, the latter an eminent representative of multicultural  writings,  so prominent in the international literary canon, now also featured in Scandinavia.Readings in cultural and literary history as well as literary criticism will supplement the course in order to contextualize the literary works.
Autumn 2012, Ingeborg Kongslien.

Major Works of Goethe. 
GRMN 28600, CMLT 28610. 

This course is an intensive study of selected works (i.e., poetry, drama, fiction, essays) by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. Students will become acquainted with one of the major figures in the history of European culture. Works to be considered include: Faust I, The Sorrows of Young Werther, Novelle, Farbenlehre (some appropriately excerpted). The seminar will also explore Goethe's life and times. All works to be read in German. Discussions in German.
Autumn 2012, David Wellbery.

Berlin, Capital of the 20th Century.
GRMN 24012. 
German history of the 20th crystallizes in the city of Berlin. From the Wilhelmine Empire and Weimar Modernism on, throughout the Third Reich, as well as the divided Socialist and Capitalist Germany, the subsequent 1989 reunification, and now in contemporary Berlin, the multi-faceted and catastrophic German history has left its footprint in the city and its culture, and it can still be read from its topography. Berlin is a palimpsest of different models of a city: of the typical Capitalist metropolis, the representative capital of regimes of terror, and the place of posthistorical mourning, and it is thus a place to remember the 20th century. The course will introduce students to German history, culture, and literature of the 20th century by a series of exemplary readings of short texts. We will orient ourselves in the dense textuality of Berlin with the help of texts, films, images, and maps of the city by authors like Benjamin, Brecht, Döblin, Fassbinder, Johnson, Simmel, Wenders, and others. The course will be taught in German. 
Spring 2012, Daniel Weidner.

Thomas Mann In His Epoch.
GRMN 25312.

Focusing on Thomas Mann’s short stories and critical and political essays, this course is meant to introduce the German and European history of ideas of the first half of the twentieth century. Topics such as art and life, culture and civilization, war and peace, democracy and totalitarianism, artistic and bourgeois identities will be explored through Mann’s particular perspective and his polemics with his contemporaries. The course will prepare the way for in-depth study of Mann’s major philosophical novels. Conducted in English.
Spring 2012, Olga Solovieva.

Individual - Mass - State: The Crisis of the Subject in Weimar Germany.
German 20612, 
SCTH 20662, PLSC 20662.
This course will examine the changing status of the individual subject under the political, social, and cultural pressures of the Weimar Republic. Through readings  of political, philosophical, and literary texts from the Weimar era, it will investigate whether the "individual" is still a valid cultural concept in modernity, to what extent the mass has replaced the individual in cultural self-understanding, and what forms of politics arise when these questions are posed. The course will engage with the competing intellectual and political discourses surrounding the rise of European fascism generally and National Socialism in particular. Readings will include selections from Ernst Jünger, Oswald Spengler, Sigmund Freud, Georg Lukács, Siegfried Kracauer, Carl Schmitt, Adolf Hitler, Hugo von Hofmannsthal, Stefan George, Gottfried Benn, and Robert Musil. Readings and discussion will be in English.
Winter 2012, James McCormick.

Scandinavian Women's Literature.
NORW 24700, GRMN 24700. 

This is a survey course of literature by Scandinavian women writers. We begin with a novel from the 1850s when women were struggling to make their voices heard in an overwhelmingly patriarchal society, and then we move to the near present when women hold substantial political power. We examine how feminist issues and themes in the texts reflect the changes of the past 150 years. Texts include Isak Dinesen's Babette's Feast and Other Anecdotes of Destiny, Gerd Brantenberg's Egalia's Daughters: A Satire of the Sexes, Camilla Collet's The Distric Governor's Daughters, Kerstin Ekman's Blackwater, Selma Lagerlöf's Gösta Berling's Saga, Moa Martinson's Women and Apple Trees, and Sigrid Undset's Kristin Lavransdattter I: The Wreath. Readings in English. 
Winter 2012, Kimberly Kenny. 

Enlightenment Fantasies. 
GRMN 25212. 

In the vein of Adorno and Horkheimer's critique of the dialectic of the enlightenment the seminar will provide an introduction to this historical period and cultural movement by examining and deconstructing the myths and metaphors it fashions about its project's paradoxes and aporias. A privileged place among those has the myth that the enlightenment gave birth to itself as is famously articulated by Kant when he defines the enlightenment as "Ausgang aus der selbstverschuldeten Unmündigkeit." We will investigate differet figurations of the paradox of the beginning: the contingecy of birth the inescapability of the Fall, the facticity of evil in a world made by a benevolent and omnipotent creator, the a priori of communication and language, the fiction of  nature and natural signs as unmade, and finally pedagogy as the mode to institute enlightenment. Before the advent of the process that is problematically termed "secularization" narrating beginnings was the domain of religion. We will thus have to look how patterns and figures of theological thining haunt and infiltrate enlightenment discourse. Although the seminar will understand the enlightenment as a European phenomenon, it will concentrate on German auhtors such as Leibniz, Kant, Lessing, Mendelssohn, Herder, and Schiller. Readings and discussions in German. 
Winter 2012, Christopher Wild.

Art in Berlin.
GRMN 25821, ARTH 25821.

From 1945 – 1991 Berlin was a site for major artistic developments and extraordinary political shifts. This course will trace the diverging artistic developments in East and West Berlin and will track points of artistic contact, exchange, and reunification. The class will examine how art in Berlin contended with a common past, postwar ruin and reconstruction, as well as Cold War ideology and occupation. In the process of reunification, Berlin became a site for the development of a public memory culture and a struggle over a common national identity, which was played out in public monuments, exhibitions, and artistic interventions.
Reading knowledge of German welcome, but not essential.
Winter 2012, Rachel Jans.

Kafka's Novels. 
GRMN 27212, FNDL 22210. 

In this seminar we will focus on Kafka's three unfinished novels: the so-called "Amerika" novel, "The Trial," and "The Castle." We will also discuss important critical literature on the novels. German not required, but a separate discussion section in German will be available.
Winter 2012, Eric Santner.

Cinema, Catastrophe, and Representation: Readings in Cultural and Aesthetic Theory.
GRMN 27412/37412, TAPS 28450, CMST 37412. 

This course examines a series of filmic, dramatic, literary, and site-specific commemorative works which engage the conjunction of narrative representation, historical catastrophe, and political as well as aesthetic resistance.  Our consideration of these works will be augmented by a series of critical essays on the limits of representation, the problematics of mediation and aesthetic adequation, the possibilities of commemoration, and the promises of aesthetic resistance.  In addition, we will consider a number of theoretical works on the operations of cinematic identification and narrative comprehension that are important to an understanding of the formal operations of film, theater, and poetry.  The course will be conducted in English and no fluency in German or the languages of cultural and film criticism is required.  However, it is designed for graduates and advanced undergraduates who have a particular interest in (and, ideally, are familiar with) some combination of cultural theory, aesthetic theory, and/or film theory; those who possess no knowledge of any of these fields should consult the instructor before signing up for the course.  
Winter 2012, David Levin.

Kafka as a Storyteller.
GRMN 24411.

In this course, we will read Kafka's tales, excerpts from the diaries and some of his fragments and aphorisms with special respect to narrative techniques and Kafka's qualities as a storyteller. The course is designed for advanced undergraduate students with some knowledge of German, and it is also conceived as an introduction to the elementary techniques and problems of literary interpretation. Primary readings will be in German, secondary readings and discussion in German and English. Term papers can be written in either German or English. 
Fall 2011, Susanne Lüdemann. 

Kleist's "Invisible Theater."
GRMN 26311/36311. 

The seminar takes as its starting point Goethe's remark about Kleist's play "Der Zerbrochne Krug" that it is "unsichtbares Theater," i.e. a theater that lacks dramatic action unfolding before the eyes and senses ("Augen und Sinne") of the audience in order to examine the specific character of Kleistian theater and theatricality. Goethe's contradiction in terms (given that "theater" is derived from the Greek verb theatein ("to see") and is thus something to be seen) suggests that Kleist's dramas consciously stage and work through the paradoxical conditions and limits of theatrical visibility and mediality. The critical tenor of this paradoxical formulation suggests further that Kleist's dramatic and theatrical project sets itself apart from the aesthetics of Goethe's Weimar court theater as well as from the aesthetics of the contemporary bourgeois theater - and thus was 'ahead' of its time. Therefore, our close readings of Kleist's 'invisible' dramas will need to be contextualized within the dominant theatrical cultures around 1800. As 2011 marks the 200-year anniversary of Kleist's untimely death, the department will orgainze and host an international conference with the same thematic focus as our seminar. The conference will take place Dec. 1-3 and thus will constitute a fitting end to our seminar and provide an opportunity to enter our own ideas and findings into a broader discussion. Texts in German; possible discussion session in German.
Fall 2011, Christopher Wild.

GRMN 28711, CMLT 28711, SCTH 28711.  

This course provides, in lectures and discussion sections, an introduction to Nietzsche’s major writings fromBirth of Tragedy to The Antichrist. Nietzsche’s evolving philosophical position as well as his cultural criticism and his literary and music criticism will be examined. Topics include: the tragic, pessimism and affirmation, nihilism, antiquity and modernity, philosophical psychology, the critique of morality, the interpretation of Christianity.  Nietzsche’s biography, the major influences on his thought, and his impact on twentieth-century culture will also be considered, if only in glimpses. 
The primary instructor of the course will be David Wellbery, but James Conant and Robert Pippin will also join the class to discuss certain aspects of Nietzsche's philosophy.
Fall 2011, David Wellbery.

Comparative Fairy Tale. 
GRMN 28500, NORW 28500, CMLT 21600, HUMA 28400.

For some, fairy tales count as sacred tales meant to enchant rather than edify. For others, they are cautionary tales, replete with obvious moral lessons. Critics have come to apply all sorts of literary approaches to fairy tale texts, ranging from stylistic analyses to psychoanalytical and feminist readings. For the purposes of this course, we assume that these critics are correct in their contention that fairy tales contain essential underlying meanings. We conduct our own readings of fairy tales from the German Brothers Grimm; the Norwegians, Asbjørnsen and Moe; and the Dane, Hans Christian Andersen. We rely on our own critical skills as well as on selected secondary readings. 
Spring 2011, Kimberly Kenny. 

Major Works of Modernism.
GRMN 29000. 

This course is centered on several canonical works of German modernism, including poetry and prose from Hofmannsthal, Kafka, Walser, Mann, and Rilke, and essays from Benjamin and Musil, among others. Throughout the course we shall examine how these authors responded in various ways to the cultural changes we have come to call modernity. In German.
Spring 2011, Robert Ryder.

Introduction to Narratology.
GRMN 21411, CMLT 21403.   
The first part of this course is designed as an overview of some major theories of narrative. We will focus on structuralist approaches such as those of Roland Barthes and Gérard Genette’s, but also discuss texts such as Benjamin’s analysis of the narrator, Bakhtin’s theory of polyphony, and new approaches to narratology in the field of cognitive poetics. In the second part, we will analyze literary examples taken especially from German and French literature from the 18th to the 20th century. A special emphasis will lie on different narrative representations of consciousness, in free indirect speech (Flaubert), the stream of consciousness (Joyce), or narrative styles that try to render more visual forms of consciousness (Musil). Finally, we will consider some experimental forms of narrative from the later 20th century (Queneau, Perec, D. Grossman).  
Spring 2011, Sandra Janßen

Acting Fundamentals: Ibsen and Practice.
GRMN 24211, TAPS 28418, NORW 24211.
The goal of this class is to integrate academic and practical approaches in the study of the great Norwegian playwright, Henrik Ibsen. The course will bring together two modes of engagement with Ibsen’s work: close, historically-contextually readings of the major plays and performance-based scene studies in which the student will learn to approach the material as actor, director, and dramaturg. Among the plays that will be studied are: A Dolls House; The Wild Duck; Hedda Gabler; and When We Dead Awaken. Students will be required to compose 2-3 short papers and to contribute to a group project. 
Winter 2011, Kimberly Kenny and Pamela Pascoe.

When Only The Ears are Awake : The German Radio Play from the Weimar Republic to the 21st Century
GRMN 24911. 

This course will examine the often overlooked but rich tradition of the German radio play. Many successful writers have explored this purely acoustical genre, including Bertold Brecht, Walter Benjamin, Friedrich Dürrenmatt, Ingeborg Bachmann, and Peter Handke. In this seminar, we will read—and listen to—numerous plays from these and other radio dramatists, including radio plays being heard in Germany today. The final project will consist of writing and producing our own radio plays. In German.
Winter 2011, Robert Ryder.

Clockwork Ode: Schiller’s Ode to Joy, Beethoven’s Ninth, and their Resonances 
GMRN 25611. 

How has Schiller’s Ode to Joy, controversial in its own time, and Beethoven’s famous setting of it come to represent the universal cosmopolitanism that has caused its recent adoption as the European Anthem? From Heinrich Heine’s parody of the poem to Thomas Mann’s “Gegen-Neunte” and Stanley Kubrick’s Clockwork Orange, this class helps demonstrate the life of a single German work of art: how it shifts and realigns according to historical trends and political agendas. In English.
Winter 2011, Robert Ryder.

Three Generations: Gottfried Benn, Elizabeth Bishop, Durs Grünbein, Zbigniew Herbert, C. K. Williams
GRMN 24311/34311.
Three generations of Modernism in poetry: Benn as one of the grandfathers, Bishop and Herbert as representatives of the middle generation, C.K.WIlliams and Grünbein—grandchildren. The idea of the class is to read poems closely and to discuss them in the class. A discussion section for German majors will be arranged fort his course.
Fall 2010, David Wellbery and Adam Zagajewski.

Man and Machine: From Kafka to Kraftwerk 
GRMN 23511.

This course will explore not only how machines have been modeled in the image of man, but also the ways in which mechanical devices and machines have served as models to gain a deeper understanding of the human being. With an emphasis on twentieth-century German literature, philosophy, film and music, the course will focus on work by Kafka, Freud, Heidegger, Jünger, Fritz Lang, Kittler and Kraftwerk, among others. In German.
Fall 2010, Robert Ryder.

Caligari's Shadows in Hollywood? Nazi Refugees, German Expressionism and Film Noir
GRMN 22010, ENGL 28108, ARTH 28410
During the 1940s and 1950s, Hollywood saw a conspicuous number of films dealing with crime, broken heroes and dangerous seductresses, featuring nocturnal city streets, dramatic lighting and distorted camera angles. Not only was the visual style of these "films noir" obviously evocative of the 1920s German cinema, in many cases the directors were in fact European immigrants who had only recently escaped Nazi Germany. A coincidence? Did filmmakers such as Billy Wilder, Fritz Lang and Otto Preminger bring the anguish, shadows, doppelgangers and weird visual compositions of German expressionist cinema as their "duty-free excess luggage" (Alfred Appel) to Hollywood, where the tradition of German silent film subsequently shaped film noir? This course will explore this fascinating and much-disputed linage. Proceeding from films commonly considered quintessentially "noir", such as Double Indemnity (Billy Wilder, 1944), Phantom Lady (Robert Siodmak, 1944), The Woman in the Window (Fritz Lang, 1944) and Out of the Past (Jacques Tourneur, 1947), we will work out salient narrative and stylistic characteristics of film noir. Subsequently, we will seek to trace these features in some of the most influential films made in Weimar Germany, most notably The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (Robert Wiene, 1919/1920), Metropolis (Fritz Lang, 1926/1927) and M (Fritz Lang, 1930), an endeavor which may include collating both evidence and counterevidence for those "secret affinities" between German silent cinema and American film noir. Finally, we will consider other important literary and cinematic precursors to film noir, including hard-boiled fiction, French poetic realist cinema and American horror and gangster films of the early 1930s.
Summer 2010, Katharina Loew.

Richard Wagner's Theater
GRMN 24110.
This seminar examines Richard Wagner's importance to 19th-century theater history. Proceeding from an understanding of the state of opera in 19th-century Germany, France and Italy, we will discuss the extent to which Wagner's influence can properly be considered ground-breaking. We will read and discuss Wagner’s own writings, including his texts on music drama, singers and actors, staging, architecture, and the Bayreuth Festspielhaus. We will read, listen to and watch some of his operas and music dramas, including "Der fliegende Holländer", "Lohengrin" and the tetralogy "Der Ring des Nibelungen" as well as works by predecessors and contemporary composers (i.e., Rossini, Bellini, Weber, Meyerbeer). Readings and discussion in German and English.
Spring 2010, Clemens Risi.

Adalbert Stifter, Tales 
GRMN 24510

Stifter's work has often been characterized by a conservative pursuit of balance and reconciliation. His tales were widely read in the 19th century and are still acclaimed for their sensitive descriptions of nature and a simple and beautiful harmony between man and nature. However, the idyll is deceptive: When Thomas Mann noted that "behind the quiet, inward exactitude of Stifter’s descriptions of Nature in particular, there is at work a predilection for the excessive, the elemental and the catastrophic, the pathological", he referred to what can be called the ‘hidden modernity’ of Stifter’s work. In this course we will read selected Stifter tales with regard to their contribution to the emergence of esthetic modernity. The course will be given in German. 
Winter 2010, Susanne Luedemann.

Nietzsche and Literary Modernism.
GRMN 24610.

The first half of this course is devoted to studying some of Nietzsche’s major works as cultural critic and diagnostician of the modern condition, focusing on The Birth of Tragedy, The Genealogy of Morals, and other writings. In the second half of the quarter, we examine the impact of Nietzsche, both in terms of his ideas and of his style, on some key works of Literary Modernism, including Franz Kafka, Robert Musil, Ernst Jünger, and others. 
Winter 2010, Robert Buch.

Jewish American Literature, Post-1945.
GRMN 27800/37800, CMLT 29800/39800, ENGL 25004/45002, YDDH 27800/37800

The goal of this course is to expand the conception of the field of Jewish American literature from English-only to English-plus. We examine how Yiddish literary models and styles influenced the resurgence of Jewish American literature since 1945, and we discuss how recent Jewish American novels have renewed the engagement with the Yiddish literary tradition. Readings are by I. B. Singer, Chaim Grade, Saul Bellow, Cynthia Ozick, Philip Roth, Bernard Malamud, Grace Paley, Jonathan Safran Foer, Art Spiegelman, and Michael Chabon. 
Winter 2010, Jan Schwarz.

Images of America in German Literature. 
GRMN 25809.  
Images of America in German Literature Since the Declaration of Independence in 1776, European imagination has time and again fantasized about the difference between the ‘old’ and the ‘new’ worlds. Whereas to many people in the 19th century, America appeared to be the promised land where they could escape from the misery of industrialization and from the backwardness of European politics, others very soon conceived the United States as the incarnation of all the evils of modernity: unleashed capitalism, cultural uprooting, and the rule of the crowd. America as both a positive and a negative utopia has also been reflected in German literature, from Goethe’s “Auswandererbund” (in “Wilhelm Meisters Wanderjahre”) to Kafka’s novel “Der Verschollene”, and beyond. The course will trace images of America in German literature through the 19th and 20th centuries. It will focus on America as a phantasmagoric space, i. e. as a projection screen where European concepts of identity, of ‘Bildung’, of politics, but also of space itself and its esthetic representation are challenged. Readings will include Goethe, Karl May, Franz Kafka, Joseph Roth, Wolfgang Koeppen and others. The course will be given in German. 
Fall 2009, Susanne Luedemann.

From Hitler to Hollywood: German Refugees and American Film
GRMN 22500/ENGL 28105/HIST 22205/CMST 22501 

Against the background of Hollywood’s changing attitudes toward Hitler’s Germany, this course will explore the links between fascism, emigration and film through the perspective of the refugee community in Hollywood during the 1930s and 1940s. Retracing one major escape route from Central Europe to America, we will examine filmic and literary attempts to capture the experience of a displaced person, endangered, defenseless and unwelcome everywhere. The social and professional situation as well as the political activities of Hollywood's approximately eight hundred, mainly Jewish European refugees will be studied along with a discussion of the extent of the film exiles’ impact on American filmmaking and politics during this period. We will consider impressions of short and long-term returnees to Germany after the war and attempt to clarify the controversial issue of this mass migration’s artistic, political and intellectual legacy in Hollywood.
Spring 2009, Katharina Loew.

The Plays of Bertolt Brecht
GRMN 27509 
Bertolt Brecht is perhaps the most important dramatist of German literature of the 20th century. Not least of all, his plays—as well as his theory of theatre—reflect the development of the modern media such as radio and film. But whereas—at least since the late twenties—Brecht’s plays are at the peak of aesthetic modernism, some of them also move into the direction of political totalitarianism. In this course we will investigate whether or not this is a contradiction. Readings will include Brecht’s major plays (BaalTrommeln in der NachtDie DreigroschenoperDer Flug der LindberghsDie MaßnahmeDie heilige Johanna der SchlachthöfeMutter Courage und ihre Kinder, and Der gute Mensch von Sezuan), as well as some of Brecht’s theoretical texts. Readings in German (and English); discussion in German.
Spring 2009, Uwe Hebekus.

Walking in Literature
GRMN 23509

Since Horaz coined the term sermo pedestris (‘walking speech’) to designate the specific pace of metrical prose in opposition to the ‘flight’ of poetic speech, literature has known the analogy between ways of walking and ways of talking. However, it is only from the late 18th century onwards that the previous aristocratic walk (“der Spaziergang”) has become a widespread cultural practice and consequently a model of both esthetic experience and narration. Be it the German romantic wanderer, the French flâneur or modern walkers like Franz Kafka, Robert Walser or Thomas Bernhard, the “Spaziergang” as a literary motif has always been both less and at the same time more than a mode of physical locomotion: less, because a written walk only takes place at the desk, on paper, and more, because the imaginary stroll coincides with the advancement of the narration and with the act of writing itself. Thus, the literary walk has always served to overlay the esthetic experience of ‘nature’ or ‘city life’ with poetological reflections. The course will trace the question of whether there is a systematic tie between cultural practices of walking and certain forms of writing, hence if there is a ‘poetics of the walk’ in German literature. Readings will include Friedrich Schiller, Der Spaziergang; Ludwig Tieck, Franz Sternbalds Wanderungen (excerpt); Adalbert Stifter, Der Waldgänger; Franz Kafka, Der plötzliche Spaziergang; Robert Walser, Der Spaziergang; Thomas Bernhard, Gehen; as well as theoretical texts by Walter Benjamin and Michel de Certeau. The course will be given in German.
Winter 2009, Susanne Lüdemann.

Goethe’s Wilhelm Meister’s Apprenticeship
GRMN 26209

This seminar is devoted to an intense, close reading of one of German literature’s most famous novels, Goethe’s Wilhelm Meister’s Apprenticeship. We will use this novel, which gave the genre of the “Bildungsroman” its name, to reflect what it means to get an education – not only for Goethe’s protagonist but, more importantly, for you here and now, at the University of Chicago. Readings and discussions in English. 
Winter 2009, Christopher Wild. 

Singer and Bellow: Jewish Novelists of the 20th Century 
GRMN 23709/33709, YDDH 23709/33709, CMLT 22801/32801, ENGL 28909/48917
The American novelist Saul Bellow and the Yiddish storyteller I.B. Singer, two of the most innovative writers of the twentieth century, created artful fiction that articulated the search for a spiritual realm in a starkly secular world. They both rejected political and religious utopias, which they vehemently exposed in their work. Their writings encompass the major seismic changes in modern Jewish life in the twentieth century: migration, urbanization, war, Holocaust, marital breakup, sexual freedom, alienation, and exile. In this course we will compare and contrast the novels of Bellow and Singer. Both came of age as writers in the polarized political and cultural climate of the interwar period. They were indebted to the Eastern European Jewish culture in Yiddish that continued to inspire them. The Yiddish-American context will be discussed in connection with their only collaboration in print, Bellow’s translation of Singer’s short story “Gimpel the Fool,” which became the latter’s introduction to a mass readership in English. We will examine how Bellow and Singer developed a neo-conservative world view that articulated their disillusionment with modernity and the political and cultural isms of the twentieth century. The secularization of Jewish life became the backdrop against which the two writers created individual characters who, often in monologue form, elaborated on their discontent with modernity and quest for spiritual meaning. Both writers were at the forefront of the Jewish literary renaissance of the 1950s and 1960s. We will examine how they artistically addressed the aftershock of the Holocaust in their novels of the 1960s, Bellow’s Mr. Sammler’s Planet (1969) and Singer’s Enemies: A Love Story (1972). Bellow and Singer reinvented the novel as a poetic universe of self reflection that gave voice to the Jewish urban experience. As such, to quote Murray Baumgarten, they created “city scriptures”; novelistic styles that aspired to “higher” transcendental meanings beyond the market driven conditions of modern life. The novels of these two belated neo-Romanticists encapsulate the central intellectual and spiritual ferments of their times: the secularization of Jewish life and its impact on the individual in the break-up of traditional religious life, the urban experience, and the destruction of European Jewry in World War II.
Winter 2009, Jan Schwarz.

Comparative Fairy Tale. The Brothers Grimm, H. C. Anderson, and Asbjørnsen and Moe. 
GRMN 28500, NORW 28500, SCAN 28500, CMLT 21600, HUMA 28400

In this course, we compare familiar examples from two national traditions of the fairy tale, those of the Brothers Grimm (German) and H. C. Anderson (Danish), with examples from the less familiar Norwegian tradition of Asbjørnsen and Moe.
Winter 2009, Kimberly Kenny.

Politics and Drama from Schiller to Hebbel. 
GRMN 29700

With the crisis of absolutism and the rise of the bourgeois class in the 18th century, politics has to reconfigure itself. Questions such as the legitimation of sovereignty, the reach of governmental power, the limits of revolution, the state of exception, and the role of aesthetics in the new political order are asked and answered anew – not least on the stage, the century’s most charged public space. The course aims to trace the path of political drama in these changing currents, many of which are as prevalent today as they were then. Readings will include Voltaire’s Brutus, Schiller’s Don Karlos, Kleist’s Prinz von Homburg, Büchner’s Dantons Tod, Manzoni’s Adelchi, Hebbel’s Gyges und sein Ring alongside excerpts from theoretical texts by Verri, Kant, Fichte, Hegel; Habermas, Foucault, and Agamben. Readings and discussion in German. 
Fall 2008, Christiane Frey.

Psychopathology in Literature and Medicine around 1900. 
GRMN 23000.

Whereas in the literature of realism, the narration of psychopathological phenomena is rather rare, early and classical modernity is increasingly interested in psyches that deviate from the norm in extreme ways. Lunatics no longer play bit parts, but become central to literary texts. This seminar will deal with literary and psychiatric representations of insanity and compare the different patterns of narration in psychiatry and literature. Alongside psychiatric patient histories, we will discuss literary texts such as Wilhelm Jensen’s „Gradiva“ (1903), Carl Spitteler’s „Imago“ (1906), Alfred Döblin’s „Die Ermordung einer Butterblume“ (1910), Arthur Schnitzler’s „Flucht in die Finsternis“ (1931), and Leo Perutz’ „St. Petri-Schnee“ (1933). The focus of the seminar will be on the interrelation of medical knowledge and narrative structures. This should provide us with an opportunity to consider broader epistemological questions concerning the validity and implementation of what one might call claims of knowledge. The course will be conducted in German. 
Spring 2008, Yvonne Wübben and Christiane Frey.

Thomas Mann: The Magic Mountain. 
GRMN 24900, FNDL 20811.

We will read this monumental novel by one of the twentieth century’s greatest writers in conjunction with a number of philosophical texts that informed Mann’s work (e.g., Schopenhauer, Nietzsche, Oswald Spengler, Max Weber). Topics include the issue of time and temporality; new media; disease and illness; death and eros; and literary realism. Readings and discussion in English. 
Spring 2008, Robert Buch.

Scandinavian Women’s Literature. 
GRMN 24700, NORW 24700, SCAN 24700.

This is a survey course of literature by Scandinavian women writers. We will read and analyze works from Norway, Denmark, and Sweden, beginning with a novel from the 1850’s, when women were struggling to be heard to the near present, when women hold substantial political power in Scandinavia. We will examine how feminist issues and themes in the texts of these Scandinavian women reflect the changes of the past 150 years. Texts include: Isak Dinesen's Babette's Feast and Other Anecdotes of Destiny, Gerd Brantenberg'sEgalia's Daughters: A Satire of the Sexes, Camilla Collett's The District Governor's Daughters, Selma Lagerlöf'sLöwensköld’s Ring, Moa Martinson's Women and Apple Trees, Sigrid Undset's Gunnar’s Daughter and Linn Ullmann’s Before You Sleep. All readings in English.
Winter 2008, Kimberly Kenny.

Jewish American Literature Since 1945. 
GRMN 27800/37800, YDDH 27800/37800, ENGL 25004/45002, CMLT 29800/39800. 
The goal of the course is to expand the conception of the field of Jewish American literature from English-only to English-plus. The course will examine how Yiddish literary models and styles influenced the resurgence of Jewish American literature since 1945, and discuss how recent Jewish American novels have renewed the engagement with the Yiddish literary tradition. Readings are by I.B.Singer, Chaim Grade, Saul Bellow, Cynthia Ozick, Philip Roth, Bernard Malamud, Grace Paley, Jonathan Safran Foer, Pearl Abraham and Dara Horn. 
Winter 2008, Jan Schwarz.

The German Novella. 
GRMN 25907.

Under the thin layer of civilisation, our more barbarous instincts lie hidden in darkness. We have, of course, all learned from an early age not to fish in these murky waters. Literature, however, has developed a genre that centrally, nay, exclusively deals in culture’s ‘other’: the novella. From the 18th century right through to the present day, the German novella has habitually devoted itself to topics that are, quite literally, not fit for good society. In sharp contrast to their scandalous topics, however, the texts themselves cultivate a form governed by the strictest rules of composition and narrative. This course retraces the history of the genre of the German novella and also serves as an introduction to narratology. Readings and discussion in German (Kleist, Die Verlobung in St. Domingo; Keller, Das Meretlein; Georg Büchner, Lenz; Gerhard Hauptmann, Bahnwärter Thiel; Thomas Mann, Der Tod in Venedig; Georg Heym, Der Irre; Arthur Schnitzler, Fräulein Else; Martin Walser, Ein fliehendes Pferd; Gert Hofmann, Die Rückkehr des verlorenen Jakob Michael Reinhold Lenz nach Riga; Thomas Hürlimann, Fräulein Stark).
Winter 2008, Frauke Berndt.

Contemporary Norwegian Novel. 
GRMN 27000, SCAN 27000. 

In this course, we undertake the reading of eight contemporary Norwegian novels (six novels and two novellas) from 1972 to the present. What does this body of texts suggest about the state of Norwegian literature – its quality, preoccupations, style, etc? If post-modern is defined as “incredulity toward meta-narratives” (Lyotard), how post-modern are these texts? 
Fall 2007, Kimberly Kenny.

Major Works of Modernism.  
GRMN 29000, CMLT 28700
This course is centered on several canonical works of classical modernism: Hugo von Hofmannsthal’s Ein Brief; Robert Walser’s Jakob von Gunten; Thomas Mann’s Tod in Venedig; Franz Kafka’s Die Verwandlung; Arthur Schnitzler’s Fräulein Else; Bertolt Brecht’s Mutter Courage und ihre Kinder; poetry by Stefan George, Hofmannsthal, Gottfried Benn, Rainer Maria Rilke, and Georg Trakl; essays by Georg Simmel, Walter Benjamin, and Robert Musil. On the basis of the works studied we shall endeavor to develop a concept of modernism sufficiently capacious to embrace radically opposed literary and cultural agendas. Readings and discussion in German.
Fall 2007, David Wellbery.

Modern Yiddish Literature: Diaspora and Homecoming. 
GRMN 25007/35007 YDDH 25000/35000.
This course will apply various theoretical models of Diaspora literature to the study of Yiddish tales, short stories, monologues, plays, novels and life-writing from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Among the topics addressed in the course are Yiddish humor and satire, literary modernism, the classical Yiddish writers’ image of the shtetl (small Jewish town in Central and Eastern Europe) and Isaac Bashevis Singer’s demon narrators. Readings are by Sh. Y. Abramovitsh, Y.L.Peretz. Scholem-Aleichem, Dovid Bergelson, Der Nister, Jonah Rosenfeld, I.B.Singer, Chaim Grade, Ester Kreytman, Chava Rosenfarb, Yankev Glathsteyn and Sh. Ansky. 
Fall 2007, Jan Schwarz.