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GERMAN 422 A: Studies in Nineteenth-Century Literature and Culture

Doubles, Evil Twins, and Body Snatchers

Meeting Time: 
MWF 9:30am - 10:20am
SIG 229
Richard Block

Additional Details:

We have all been warned that somewhere out there in the dark lurks our evil twin, awaiting just the right moment to pounce on us as prey, usurp our identities, and turn our lives into a living hell. Some have survived to report the ordeal; others have been charmed by their double and succumbed, often meeting a gruesome end.  Still others claim to be survivors and “authentic” humans.  No one really knows, of course, if what “such survivors” say is true or merely another masterful ruse by the evil twin so they can swoop in and take control of our minds and bodies.

In this course, we will look at what once seemed like fantastic tales meant solely to entertain and now reveal that far more ominous, thrilling, and existential forces are at work. Nowhere more clearly does one hear the wails of those fighting this life-and-death battle than in European fiction of the 19th century and especially German novellas from that period.   Many of these German texts will be the focus of this course, including works from Joseph von Eichendorff, Hugo von Hofmannsthal, Annette von Droste -Hülshoff, and Ricarda Huch.  We will also include works from Oscar Wilde, Charles Baudelaire, and Edgar Allen Poe.  We will conclude with a screening of Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner.  What may surprise us is how gender, race, and ethnicity are invoked to settle the battle.

Language of instruction is English.  Readings are in English/German.  Assignments are completed in student’s language of choice, although English is recommended in most instances. 

Course prerequisite:  none


Catalog Description: 
Rotating special topics in literature and culture of the nineteenth century, such as particular movements, authors, genres, themes, or problems. Offered: W.
GE Requirements: 
Visual, Literary, and Performing Arts (VLPA)
Last updated: 
August 2, 2019 - 9:04pm