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GERMAN 421 A: Studies in Eighteenth-Century Literature and Culture

Meeting Time: 
MWF 9:30am - 10:20am
DEN 359
Brandon Chase Emrys

Syllabus Description:

Madness in the Age of Reason

A Seminar on German Literature from the Enlightenment through Romanticism, 1750-1830


Learning Goals:

This course is intended to develop your ability to read and interpret texts in German, and to refine your writing skills. It will examine several great texts of the long 18th century, as well as some theoretical works, in order to discover what we can learn through close reading and to understand more about the concept of madness and its politicization as a tool to shape society.



- Be prepared for class. This includes doing relevant reading and bringing necessary texts.

- Try to speak German as much as possible in class; written assignments are to be completed in English.

- Participation means active engagement, not just presence.

- Anyone with a documented disability requiring special accommodation must meet with the

instructor during the first week of classes to arrange for such accommodation.


Required Texts (all available for free on Kindle/online):

-Goethe, Torquato Tasso                                                     - Hoffmann, Der Sandmann

- Grillparzer, Medea                                                              -Schiller, Verbrecher aus verlorene Ehre

- Lessing, Emilia Galotti

- Tieck, Der blonde Eckbert, Der Runenberg

- Kleist, Das Erdbeben in Chile

All other readings will be available on the course website or handed out in class.


Required: German 203. Recommended level of preparation: German 301, 302, or 303.


Our reading schedule will proceed approximately as follows:


Introduction to the 18th century:

25.9:    Enlightenment, Reason, and Social Order

27.9:    Was ist Aufklärung? Was ist Wahnsinn?


Hysteria: “Madness” of Women in a Patriarchal World

30.9:    Grillparzer, MEDEA

2.10:    Grillparzer, MEDEA

4.10:    Grillparzer, MEDEA

7.10:    Grillparzer, MEDEA

9.10:    Grillparzer, MEDEA

11.10:  Discussion, 1st Paragraph due


14.10:   Lessing, EMILIA GALOTTI

16.10:   Lessing, EMILIA GALOTTI

18.10:   Lessing, EMILIA GALOTTI

21.10:   Lessing, EMILIA GALOTTI

23.10:   Lessing, EMILIA GALOTTI

25.10:   Discussion, 2nd Paragraph due


Ferality: The Madness of the Wild

28.10:    Tieck, RUNENBERG

30.10:    Tieck, RUNENBERG, 2nd Paragraph, Workshop

1.11:      Tieck, RUNENBERG


4.11:    Tieck, ECKBERT, 2nd Paragraph, Final Version

6.11:    Tieck, ECKBERT

8.11:    Tieck, ECKBERT, Discussion


Delusion: The Madness of False Perception

11.11:     No Classes

13.11:     Hoffmann, SANDMANN

15.11:     Hoffmann, SANDMANN

18.11:     Hoffmann, SANDMANN

20.11:     Hoffmann, SANDMANN, Discussion, 3RD Paragraph due


Repression: The Madness of Society

22.11:     Goethe, TASSO

25.11:     Goethe, TASSO

27.11:     Schiller, VERBRECHER

29.11:     No Classes

2.12:       Kleist, ERDBEBEN

4.12:       Kleist, ERDBEBEN, Discussion, Essay Question Due

6.12:       Wrap-up, final discussions


13.12:      Final Essay Due

Catalog Description: 
Rotating special topics in literature and culture of the eighteenth century, such as particular movements, authors, genres, themes, or problems. Offered: A.
GE Requirements: 
Arts and Humanities (A&H)
Last updated: 
August 7, 2019 - 9:13pm