Germany, Berlin

Schlüsselwerke der deutschen Literatur von der Klassik bis zur Gegenwart

when 2 June 2018 - 14 July 2018
language German
duration 6 weeks
credits 4 ECTS
fee EUR 1650

This course offers an overview of the history of German literature from the 18th to the 21st century. By recognising that the mental state of an era reflects itself in the literature, and regarding this during discussion of the texts of representative texts, such as von Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Heinrich Heine, Franz Kafka, Bertolt Brecht or Bernhard Schlink, the focus of the seminars will be directed at the following questions: What ambitions, wishes and utopias are within this literature? To what extent did intellectual developments, societal changes and technological advances influence the literature? What interactions are there between art, music and literature? Kan poetry also be seen as inspiration for social changes? And, how do the authors include the literary heritage in their work?

This course provides an overview of the history of German literature from the 18th to the 21st century. Starting from the knowledge that the psychological sensitivities of an age are reflected in literature, and supported by reading and discussing representative texts - e.g. from Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Heinrich Heine, Franz Kafka, Bertolt Brecht or Bernhard Schlink - the focus of the seminar is based on the following questions: What desires, demands and utopias can be found in the literature? How influential are the developments of the history of thought, social upheavals and technological innovations on literary expression? What interplay exists between art, music and literature? Can fiction also be seen as inspiration for social changes? And: how do the respective authors corporate literary legacies into their own works?

A valid and living impression of literary development from the classical period to the present will not only be provided through texts, but also through film clips and field trips. For instance, we will visit the Deutsches Historisches Museum and obtain deeper insight into the art of the Romantic period with a tour through the Alte Nationalgalerie.

Course leader

Dr. Anja Richter

Target group

Language skills: Intermediate German B2/advanced level C1

Brief description of the B2 language level:

Able to understand the core content of complex texts on concrete and abstract themes; understands technical discussions in their own field. Able to spontaneously and fluently comprehend that a normal conversation with native speakers is easily possible with no great strain on either party. Able to clearly and precisely express themselves on a broad spectrum of subjects, express a standpoint on a topical question and provide the advantages and disadvantages of various possibilities.

Aside from the language requirements, participants must not exhibit any special knowledge of German literature or history. The seminar is directed toward students of various majors who are interested in German literature and its historical connections from the classic period to the modern day.

Credits info


30% Regelmäßige und aktive Teilnahme. Aufgrund des Seminarformats wird eine rege Beteiligung an den Diskussionen erwartet.
25% Zwei Kurzessays (ca. 500 Wörter = ca. 2 Seiten) zu den verschiedenen thematischen Schwerpunkten.
20% Ein Referat (ca. 15 Minuten). Die Referate sollen einen ersten Einblick in den betreffenden Text geben, Fragen stellen bzw. Argumente formulieren und zur Diskussion anregen. Die Themen werden in der ersten Woche vergeben.
25% Eine Seminararbeit von 6-8 Seiten.

Fee info

EUR 1650: Tuition
EUR 250: Program fee