GERM-166 Mysteries, Madness, Murder
Spring for 2013-2014
This course examines stories of crime, murder, and madness in 19th and 20th-century German literature and film as expressions of the increasingly complex relationship among individuals and between the individual and the social order. It considers how German artists have used the medium of crime novellas, dramas, fiction, and film to explore the depths of human motivations and consciousness, of the quest for love, justice, and truth, as well as the desire for vengeance, manipulative power, and destruction. How rationality and madness, the mysterious and the evil are understood and depicted at different times will allow us a view into moral dilemmas and moral truths, as well as forms of complicity, culpability, and exoneration.
The reading material includes texts from diverse genres (novels, plays, film/tv, essays) and literary periods (Romanticism, Realism, and the postmodernism of the post-war period). In sum, we will get to know some terrifically suspenseful, eerie, and unusual texts by well-known German-speaking authors of the 19th and 20th century, acquaint ourselves with some of the persistent philosophical questions they have raised, and learn about important literary periods and styles.
Prerequisites: completion of 102 or 111 or equivalent
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