Facebook IconTwitter iconSoundcloud IconYouTube IconLinkedIn Icon

Graduate Open Day logo

GERM2108 - The Challenge of Modernity: Literature and Culture from 1870 to the Present

Value: 0.5 course units
Dr Mererid Puw Davies
Teaching structure:
one assessed 2,500 word essay (50%); one unseen two-hour written examination (50%).

Module Description:

The module begins with the foundation in 1871 of the German Empire and considers Fontane as the representative writer of the Wilhelmine period. Consideration is then given to classic texts of early modernism, to the Weimar years and the rise of Nazism, to the Third Reich, and to the chief currents in cultural and socio-political life of the post-1945 period.

Primary Reading/Viewing

  • Ingeborg Bachmann, Das Buch Franza (1976)
  • Walter Benjamin, ‚Das Kunstwerk im Zeitalter seiner technischen Reproduzierbarkeit‘ (1936)
  • Slatan Dudow, Bertolt Brecht et al., Kuhle Wampe oder Wem gehört die Welt (film, 1932)
  • Theodor Fontane, Effi Briest (1896)
  • Günter Grass, Im Krebsgang (2002)
  • Franz Kafka, Die Verwandlung (1915)
  • Friedrich Nietzsche, ‘Über Wahrheit und Lüge im außermoralischen Sinne‘ (1873)
  • Leni Riefenstahl, Olympia (1938)
  • Rainer Maria Rilke, Neue Gedichte (1907)
  • Arthur Schnitzler, Reigen (1920)
  • Thomas Mann, Der Tod in Venedig (1912)

Feel free to use any modern edition of the above texts. They should all be easily available in paperback. Films will be made available to view.

Preparatory Reading and Set Texts:

  • Anthony Phelan, Rilke. Neue Gedichte (London, 1992).
  • Alan Bance, Theodor Fontane. The Major Works (Cambridge, 1982).
  • T. J. Reed, Thomas Mann: The Uses of Tradition (Oxford, 1974).
  • Michael Tanner, Nietzsche. A Very Short Introduction (Oxford, 1994).
  • Martin Swales, Arthur Schnitzler. A Critical Study (Oxford, 1971).
  • Heinz Politzer, Franz Kafka. Parable and Paradox (Cornell University Press, 1962).
  • Keith Dickson, Towards Utopia. A Study of Brecht (Oxford University Press, 1978).
  • Stephanie Bird, Women Writers and National Identity (Cambridge, 2003).