GERM-360 Globales Vaterland - Recent German Literature
Spring for 2015-2016
Prof. Helmut Schneider (Max Kade Guest Professor)
This course is designed as an introduction into what is often dubbed as the „new“ Germany. This is the Germany after the fall of the Berlin wall and the re-unification of the East and West, the Germany after the end of the post-war period. At the same time, Germany as well as Europe as a whole were exposed to the onrush of an often threatening process of globalization. These two fundamental socio-political and cultural changes found expression in some fascinating works of literature and film (mainly of a younger generation) which we will read / see an discuss.
On the „national“ side, Christian Kracht’s travel novel Faserland and Ingo Schulze’s Simple Stories deal with a new generation’s experience of Germany history and the confrontation of the „Ossis“ with the new Western reality. On the „global“ side, we will read Daniel Kehlmann’s bestseller Die Vermessung der Welt, a fictional historical encounter of the famous mathematician Friedrich Gauss and the travelling researcher Alexander von Humboldt, as well as the same author’s recent short prose Ruhm, a highly ironic and amusing dealing with our digitalized and globalized life style. Austrian director’s film Das weiße Band probes into the psychological aspects of a (past?) authoritarian culture, while the Turkish-German director Fatih Akin deals with typical immigrant problems in contemporary Germany (we will choose the most recent movie, Soul Kitchen. Finally, Wolfgang Herrndorf’s Tschik is a hilarious road novel with two adolescent heroes.
The texts are rather short, most of them in a quite accessible language (also a characteristic of the „new“ literature). Course requirements are two short and one final paper.
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