GER 346L: Survey of German Literature


Course Description

Unique: 37910
Semester: Spring 2007
Meeting Time and Room: TTh 12:30-2:00 in WMOB 4.118 (also EPS 4.104)

Instructor: Prof. Janet Swaffar
Office: EPS 3.166
Office Hours: MM: 11:00-12:30 and by appointment
Phone: 232-6376 (Swaffar office) or 471-4123 (Germanic Studies main office)

The objectives of this course are to orient students in the concepts underlying literary movements from 1775 to the present day and to enable them to analyze in German features of these movements represented in the assigned readings. We will read German works from the Enlightenment through the Classic and Romantic movements (1750-1820s), Junges Deutschland and Realism (1820s to 1990s), and from Naturalism to the present (1890s to 2000), all of which focus on figures who examine the pressures imposed on them by their societies. Lectures will be in German, but approximately one quarter of every class hour will be devoted to students' small group discussion sessions or individual presentations in German. Study sessions with the instructor outside of the designated class hour will be arranged each week. Movie versions of excerpts shown in class will be available in the LIATS Lab, Mezes Room 2.104.

Quizzes consist of short identification items about main events or characters in a given reading assignment. In five short written essays in German, students will be asked to compare two features of a given period with characteristics they identify in the reading for that week. These basic exercises in linking abstract concepts about literature to specific concrete features of texts prepare students for two longer examinations that ask them to assess issues treated in texts read from different periods. One exam will be administered during the semester and one online examination written during the final examination period.

This course is designed for students who have taken Advanced German Grammar and German Conversation and Composition (either literature or culture.) If you have not taken these courses, permission of the instructor is necessary to insure a reasonable homogeneity of student abilities to understand texts written other centuries. You will be expected to read such works for overall grasp of the lyrical message (if poetry) or for plot and character development (if prose or drama), as well as to write, and speak about them in German.


10 Online Quizzes     20%
Individual Presentations     10%
Class Notes (Collected)     15%
Group Work Presentation     10%
Short Essays     25%
Midterm Exam     10%
  + Oral Review of Midterm
Final Exam     10%


Enlightenment: "Was ist Aufklärung?" Immanuel Kant (HO)
Sturm und Drang: Die Leiden des jungen Werthers (Auszüge, Buch 1) Goethe
German Classic: Gedichtauswahl Schiller, Goethe (HO)
German Romanticism: "Das Erdbeben in Chile" Kleist
Junges Deutschland: Woyzeck* Büchner
Realism: "Kleider machen Leute" Keller, G. (unter Die Leute von Seldwyla)
Naturalism: "Bahnwärter Thiel"* Hauptmann
Expressionism: "Das Urteil" Kafka
Neue Sachlichkeit: "Die unwürdige Greisen" Brecht (HO)
NS literature: Hitlerjunge Quex (Auszüge) Schenzinger (HO)
Postwar literature: Draußen vor der Tür* Borchert, W.
Literatur der 68er Generation: Gedichtauswahl (HO)
Literatur der DDR: Die neuen Leiden des jungen W.* Plenzdorf
Filme der Wiedervereinigung: Beispiel Goodbye-Lenin (Auszüge) (HO)

{starred texts available in the Coop,
 excerpts available as Xerox handouts are marked (HO),
 texts of authors in bold are available online at Projekt Gutenberg-DE}

Last update: January 2007
Send electronic mail to: