Modalities of Literary Realism
This course will examine various manifestations of literary “realism” as they occur in German-language literature from the 1830s through to the final decades of the nineteenth century. We will concentrate not only on the ways in which the methods and manners of realistic portrayal change throughout the century, but also on how the actual objects that warrant literary representation (e.g. politics, social institutions, human beings as representatives of specific social classes, “everyday” life, etc.) vary at different historical junctures. We will treat diverse literary-historical epochs (such as the “Vormärz,” Poetic Realism, and Naturalism) as distinct approaches to “realistic” representation. Among the authors treated will be Heinrich Heine, Georg Büchner, Adalbert Stifter, Gottfried Keller, Theodor Storm, and Gerhart Hauptmann, among others. Short philosophical and aesthetic essays by major figures of the period (Kant, Hegel, Marx, among others) will supplement and provide background for the readings in literature.
Course requirements: Mid-term and final examinations (administered as take-home exams), and a journal with critical responses to the readings as a quarter-long writing project.