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GERMAN 298 A: Topics in Literature and Culture

Summer Term: 
Meeting Time: 
MTWTh 12:00pm - 2:10pm
* *
Joint Sections: 
C LIT 240 B
Jingsi Shen

Syllabus Description:

CLIT 240 summer 2020 syllabus.pdf


Slides: Link

Class format: Zoom live lectures and discussions on Mondays and Wednesdays; asynchronous assignments on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Zoom lectures will be recorded in case you miss some of our classes.


CLIT240 B/ GERMAN 298 A: The Doppelgänger

Dante Gabriel Rossetti, "How They Met Themselves," c. 1860-64

In this class, we deal with the genre of fantastical and the uncanny. We will explore the effects and implications of the theme of Doppelgänger—a spiritual double, an evil “twin," or a monster within. Stories of these mysterious second selves continue to fascinate consumers of fictional works. Plots of doublings create at once a sense of horror and aesthetic pleasure: audience of these works are held temporarily in abeyance, wavering between reality and fantasy. We will read a set of 19th century literary works which popularize the motif of the Doppelgänger and examine the relation between the rise of these works and their social contexts. We will then continue with several Expressionist films, a form that forges the elements of doubling and fragmentary identity into a visible and tangible force.

Where does the appeal of the Doppelgänger come from? What does it have to do with our unending journey of quest of the self? And what can it teach us about radical uncertainty and its remedy? We will approach these issues by practicing close reading, comparative analysis, and writing analytical papers. You are required to write two essays throughout the term, each about 1000 words in length. 




  • The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920): Link
  • Metropolis (1927): Link
  • Optional: Faust (1926): Link



  • Two essays (20%*2): 1000-1500 words
  • Reading and film quizzes (15%), there will be extra credit questions
  • Reading and film responses (20%)
  • Participation (25%) including day-to-day assignments and participation in class discussions


  1. There will be several quizzes throughout the quarter, based on the materials you’ve read or watched in preparation for class. These quizzes will be composed of basic factual questions.
  2. There are altogether 4 e-posts, or online reading responses that you’ll need to complete in this class. These will be due on Sundays.
  3. Extra credits: you could earn extra credits by writing a film review of one of the required or recommended films. Your review should be 2-3 pages in length and related to what we discussed in class.


Course Outline (Details are subject to change, but we'll stick to the reading schedule listed here.)


in-class activities


Mon 6/22


Zoom meeting 1: course introduction, syllabus, testing technology

Read: “Borges and I,”

Tue 6/23


Asynchronous assignment: preliminary paper, due on Friday


Wed 6/24


Zoom meeting 2: “Borges and I,” genre and terms for literary analysis

Read: “The Sandman”

Thu 6/25


Watch: “The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari” 

quiz 1 (covering “Sandman,” “Caligari”), e-post 1, both due on Sunday




Mon 6/29


Zoom meeting 3: “The Sandman,” “Dr. Caligari”

Read: Freud “The Uncanny”

Tue 6/30


Study keywords “mise-en-scene”on Yale Film Analysis;

recorded mini-lecture on "Caligari"

e-post 2 : scene analysis

Wed 7/1

Zoom meeting 4: Freud, Complex argument

Read: Frankenstein volume I

Thu 7/2


office hour: paper one draft workshop

Paper 1 draft due on Sunday;




Mon 7/6


Zoom meeting 5: Frankenstein

Read: Frankenstein volume II

Tue 7/7


Peer review on paper 1

Read: Frankenstein volume III (focus on chapters 2, 3, 6 and 7)

Wed 7/8


Zoom meeting 6: Frankenstein cont.

Paper one revision

Thu 7/9


Asynchronous assignments: quiz 2 (“The Uncanny” and Frankenstein), e-post 3, due on Sunday


Read: Amphitryon Act I; paper one final draft due on Sunday




Mon 7/13


Zoom meeting 7: Amphitryon

Read: Amphitryon Act II & III

Tue 7/14


Watch: Metropolis

e-post 4

Wed 7/15


Zoom meeting 8: Metropolis & Amphitryon


Thu 7/16


Asynchronous assignments: study materials "using quotes" & "MLA formatting"

Quiz 3 (Amphitryon and Metropolis)




Mon 7/20


Zoom meeting 9: Research questions, scholarly sources


Tue 7/21

Wrap up, individual paper workshops

Research paper

Catalog Description: 
Introduces literary works and cultural artifacts from a variety of different traditions, cultures, and periods. Helps students to acquire basic tools for analyzing literature and culture.
GE Requirements: 
Visual, Literary, and Performing Arts (VLPA)
Writing (W)
Last updated: 
June 22, 2020 - 9:13pm