Skip to main content

Reading German Culture

This module, taught in English, is open to students taking German Language 1A and offers an introduction to the impact of German and Austrian culture beyond these countries’ shifting borders. Key figures in German cultural and intellectual history – such as Hannah Arendt, Sigmund Freud, Franz Kafka, Friedrich Nietzsche – have offered provocative critiques and interpretations of core challenges that confront us in the modern world. This module aims to introduce students to some of the central concepts that have shaped writing and thinking in German from the Age of the Enlightenment to the present day. Studying landmark texts in their cultural context, we explore relationships between fiction and truth; imagination and history; genre and expression; writing and power. The course stresses the fact that culture, literature, and thought are inseparably entwined. Students will be introduced to relevant analytical methods and interpretative frameworks which will help them to engage critically with the texts and genres under consideration. This module has been designed to reflect a commitment to diversity in its resources and delivery, and will create opportunities for students to engage in critical analysis of different perspectives relevant to the study area.

Texts to be studied:

  • Immanuel Kant, Beantwortung der Frage: Was ist Aufklärung? (Answering the Question: What is Enlightenment?)
  • Selection of Poetry, 1770-1850
  • E.T.A. Hoffmann, Der Sandmann (The Sandman)
  • Friedrich Nietzsche, Über Wahrheit und Lüge im aussermoralischen Sinne (On Truth and Lie in an Extra-Moral Sense)
  • Sigmund Freud, Die Traumdeutung (The Interpretation of Dreams) (excerpts)
  • Otto Weininger, Geschlecht und Charakter (Sex and Character) (excerpts)
  • Franz Kafka, Die Verwandlung (The Metamorphosis)

This list is indicative and some titles may be substituted before the start of the academic year.

Coordinator:  To be confirmed

Further details of pre-requisites, co-requisites, aims, contact hours and assessment.