The course explores literature, art, and architecture in Vienna around 1900. We focus on themes such as language, psychoanalysis, sexuality, and identity. Readings include Hofmannsthal (Chandos, Electra), Musil, Schnitzler (Round Dance, Gustl); artists include Klimt, Schiele; architecture of the "Ringstrasse" and Adolf Loos. Finally, we examine Strauss's opera Electra and Kubrick's Eyes Wide Shut.
Detailed examination of concepts such as exactitude, objectivity, probability, experiments, and the observer in literary poetics and scientific practices from the 18th to the 20th century. Readings include Goethe, Buchner, Benn, Doblin, Foucault, Serres, Snow.
This course will explore the complex relations between literature and science in one of the most prominent novels of modernity, Robert Musil's The Man Without Qualities (1930-1942). An archive of contemporaneous knowledge and culture, this influential novel refers to discourses such as the theory of relativity, mathematics of probability, and experimental psychology among others. Selected literary and scientific texts will supplement our examination of how these discourses are translated into Musil's unique poetics. Note: Discussions and readings in German.
The course focuses on central texts in 20th-century German literature. Key authors are read in pairs: for example, Arthur Schnitzler and Hugo von Hofmannsthal, Alfred Doblin and Franz Kafka, Paul Celan and Ingeborg Bachmann. The course provides an historical overview, sharpens German reading skills, and introduces basic concepts in literary analysis. Note: Readings and discussions in German. This course, when taken for a letter grade, meets the Core area requirement for Literature and Arts A.
Cultural Studies has developed at the intersection of a range of fields, drawing on literary criticism, ethnography, the history of science, media studies, and others. Situating Cultural Studies as an academic discipline, this course examines methods for the analysis of a society's creation of cultural meaning and knowledge. The course provides an introduction to essential tools and basic concepts for interdisciplinary inquiries in the humanities. Note: Readings and discussion in English.
A survey of theories of madness in the 20th century, this course examines inventions and conceptualizations of the "insane" subject in psychoanalysis and otherwise. Particular attention will be paid to the literary history of these pathologies as well as to the creative potential of the unreasonable subject and its exemplary function in literary avantgarde and critical thought. Theoretical readings include Freud, Lacan, Foucault, Cixous, Kristeva, Deleuze, and Guattari. Note: Readings and discussion in English.
Hermeneutics, structuralism, discourse analysis, deconstruction, and gender theory are among the approaches to literature examined for their points of contact and divergence. Attention is also paid to the problem of "applying" theories to literary analysis.
Tragedies aim to stimulate the spectator's passion and sympathy. How precisely do they achieve that goal? Through close readings, the course contextualizes the tragedies of such authors as Lessing, Goethe, Kleist, Buchner, Hebbel, Wedekind, and Hofmannsthal within major literary movements and the theoretical reflections of Nietzsche and Benjamin. Note: Readings and discussions in German.
This course will study how literary and theoretical texts reflect upon the period around 1900. What is modern? How is modernity defined, constructed and invented in writings by Walter Benjamin, Hugo von Hofmannsthal, Sigmund Freud, Theodor W. Adorno, Jean-Francois Lyotard, and Giorgio Agamben? Note: Readings and discussions in English.
Heinrich von Kleist, one of the most prominent authors around 1800, was a critical reader of his own time; his work marked a turning point in literary history. Through close readings we will analyze the innovative and unique poetic forms of his major works with regard to literary movements of his time, in particular Weimar Classicism and Romanticism. Note: Conducted in German.
Introduction to one of the most influential theories of the 20th Century. Special attention will be paid to the literary history that has anticipated some of its thoughts. Excerpts of Adorno's aesthetic theory and a selection of his essays will be contextualized with texts by Goethe, Eichendorff and others; Benjamin's writings will be discussed along with works by Brecht and Kafka.
Examines how literature reflects violence, but also how violence stimulates new aesthetics throughout the 20th century. Authors include Junger, Kafka, Muller, Artaud. Close readings of their texts will be accompanied by discussions of theoretical reflections on violence: Freud, Benjamin, Girard and others.
Focusing on such topics as the representation of femininity, the (im)possibility of feminine writing, and literature and the body, the course examines the gender theories of Irigaray, Cixous, Kristeva, Butler, Felman, and others and applies them to 18th and 19th-century German writers, including Fontane, Musil, Bachmann, and Jelinek.
Journeys to "America" have their own history in German literature. For 19th-century writers such as Charles Sealsfield, Ferdinand Kurnberger, Friedrich Gerstacker, Karl May, and others, "America" serves as a topos for aesthetic and political reflection. In 20th-century literature, the constructed nature of "America" becomes particularly apparent. Readings from this period include Franz Kafka, Wolfgang Koeppen, Peter Handke, Max Frisch, and W. G. Sebald.
Focusing on the problem of "objective" representations of reality, the course concentrates on leading representatives of "bourgeois realism": Gottfried Keller, Wilhelm Raabe, Theodor Storm, Theodor Fontane, and Conrad Ferdinand Meyer. Through close reading of texts, the course explores how narrative techniques create realistic effects. Attention is paid to the visual arts and sciences in the second half of the 19th century as important contexts for literature of the period.