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GERMAN 421 A: Studies In Eighteenth-Century Literature And Culture

Kurze Rede, langer Sinn: Short Prose from the Enlightenment to Romanticism

Meeting Time: 
MWF 12:30pm - 1:20pm
Location: 
DEN 312
SLN: 
15340
Instructor:
Ellwood Wiggins

Syllabus Description:

Kurze Rede, langer Sinn:

Short Prose from the Enlightenment to Romanticism

 

“Der Amerikaner, der den Kolumbus zuerst entdeckte, machte eine böse Entdeckung.”

(The American who first discovered Columbus made a bad discovery.)

-Georg Christoph Lichtenberg, 1783

 

From the Enlightenment penchant for fables to the Romantic passion for fragments, many of the profoundest ideas of the long eighteenth century came to be encapsulated in the form of short textual passages. In turn, the art of brief, pithy prose rose to new levels of regard and technical finesse during this time. The very simplicity and harmony of the form proved to be a remarkably adept vessel for radically complex and disconcerting ideas.

 

In this course we will look at prose texts whose common denominator is their brevity. The genres that will come under consideration are: Aphorism, fragment, joke, anecdote, short story – and “shortest story.” In addition to observing the differentiating and unifying characteristics of these various short forms, we will peer through each one as through a window (or, considering its size, a peephole) to the history, culture, and philosophy of the times in which it appeared. We will read a great variety of short prose by writers as diverse as Lichtenberg, Lessing, Goethe, Schlegel, Novalis, Hölderlin, Hebel, and Kleist.

 

Readings and classroom discussion in German.  Writing assignments in English.

Additional Details:

“Der Amerikaner, der den Kolumbus zuerst entdeckte, machte eine böse Entdeckung.”

(The American who first discovered Columbus made a bad discovery.)

-Georg Christoph Lichtenberg, 1783

 

From the Enlightenment penchant for fables to the Romantic passion for fragments, many of the profoundest ideas of the long eighteenth century came to be encapsulated in the form of short textual passages. In turn, the art of brief, pithy prose rose to new levels of regard and technical finesse during this time. The very simplicity and harmony of the form proved to be a remarkably adept vessel for radically complex and disconcerting ideas.

 

In this course we will look at prose texts whose common denominator is their brevity. The genres that will come under consideration are: Aphorism, fragment, joke, anecdote, short story – and “shortest story.” In addition to observing the differentiating and unifying characteristics of these various short forms, we will peer through each one as through a window (or, considering its size, a peephole) to the history, culture, and philosophy of the times in which it appeared. We will read a great variety of short prose by writers as diverse as Lichtenberg, Lessing, Goethe, Schlegel, Novalis, Hölderlin, Hebel, and Kleist.

 

Readings and classroom discussion in German.  Writing assignments in English.

 

Catalog Description: 
Rotating special topics in literature and culture of the eighteenth century, such as particular movements, authors, genres, themes, or problems. Recommended: GERMAN 303; either GERMAN 311, GERMAN 312, GERMAN 322, or GERMAN 323. Offered: A.
GE Requirements: 
Visual, Literary, and Performing Arts (VLPA)
Other Requirements Met: 
Credits: 
5
Status: 
Active
Last updated: 
April 28, 2016 - 3:22pm
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