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GERM4137 - Writing and Rewriting Märchen and other Fantastic Tales

Value: 0.5 course units / 30 MA credits
MA module code: GERMG051
Tutor: Dr Mererid Davies
Teaching structure:
Assessment: one unseen two-hour written examination (50%) and one 2,500 word essay (50%) for GERM4137; one 6,000 word essay for GERMG051.
Available to: Final Year students and MA students


Module Description:

This module compares and contrasts Märchen and other tales, often fantastic, from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.  The texts in question are thematically similar, often dealing with relationships between humans and other kinds of beings, or with other humans whose humanity is, however, suspect.  In many cases, the twentieth-century texts re-write the nineteenth-century tales either explicitly or implicitly, thus allowing the tracing of a development of ideas about what constitutes humanity, monstrosity, gender identity and transformation over the modern period.  The module will also explore the changing meanings and forms of the Märchen and related forms in the period in question. Other cultural forms, e.g. film, may also be included.

Preparatory Reading and Set Texts:

  • Ingeborg Bachmann, `Undine geht', in Bachmann, Das dreißigste Jahr (Munich: Piper, 1997)
  • Karen Duve, Regenroman (Berlin: Ullstein, 2001)
  • Friedrich de la Motte Fouqué, Undine (many editions, e.g. Munich: dtv, 1999; Stuttgart: Reclam UB 491)
  • Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm and other authors: versions of ‘Blaubart’; ‘Der Froschkönig’, e.g. in Brüder Grimm, Kinder und Hausmärchen. Ausgabe letzter Hand (Stuttgart: Reclam) (Reclam UB 05391); or Ausgewählte Kinder- und Hausmärchen (Stuttgart: Reclam) (Reclam UB 3179). NB: Since these are such short texts, students may not want to purchase the whole collection unless they are particularly interested in Märchen or the Grimms. The individual tales will be made available on Moodle. In addition, we will read other (short) variants of ‘Blaubart’ and ‘Froschkönig’, which will also be available via Moodle.
  • E.T.A. Hoffmann, Der goldne Topf. Ein Mährchen aus der neuen Zeit (many editions e.g. Stuttgart: Reclam, 1987; Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp, 2002) (Suhrkamp BasisBibliothek 31)
  • Patrick Süskind, Das Parfüm. Die Geschichte eines Mörders (Zurich: Diogenes, 2000)
  • Max Frisch, Blaubart (Frankfurt/Main: Suhrkamp, 1982).