Madness in the Age of Reason
A Seminar on German Literature from the Enlightenment through Romanticism, 1750-1830
This course is intended to develop your ability to read and interpret texts in German, and to refine your writing skills. It will examine several great texts of the long 18th century, as well as some theoretical works, in order to discover what we can learn through close reading and to understand more about the concept of madness and its politicization as a tool to shape society.
- Be prepared for class. This includes doing relevant reading and bringing necessary texts.
- Try to speak German as much as possible in class; written assignments are to be completed in English.
- Participation means active engagement, not just presence.
- Anyone with a documented disability requiring special accommodation must meet with the
instructor during the first week of classes to arrange for such accommodation.
Required Texts (all available for free on Kindle/online):
-Goethe, Torquato Tasso - Hoffmann, Der Sandmann
- Grillparzer, Medea -Schiller, Verbrecher aus verlorene Ehre
- Lessing, Emilia Galotti
- Tieck, Der blonde Eckbert, Der Runenberg
- Kleist, Das Erdbeben in Chile
All other readings will be available on the course website or handed out in class.
Required: German 203. Recommended level of preparation: German 301, 302, or 303.
Our reading schedule will proceed approximately as follows:
Introduction to the 18th century:
25.9: Enlightenment, Reason, and Social Order
27.9: Was ist Aufklärung? Was ist Wahnsinn?
Hysteria: “Madness” of Women in a Patriarchal World
30.9: Grillparzer, MEDEA
2.10: Grillparzer, MEDEA
4.10: Grillparzer, MEDEA
7.10: Grillparzer, MEDEA
9.10: Grillparzer, MEDEA
11.10: Discussion, 1st Paragraph due
14.10: Lessing, EMILIA GALOTTI
16.10: Lessing, EMILIA GALOTTI
18.10: Lessing, EMILIA GALOTTI
21.10: Lessing, EMILIA GALOTTI
23.10: Lessing, EMILIA GALOTTI
25.10: Discussion, 2nd Paragraph due
Ferality: The Madness of the Wild
28.10: Tieck, RUNENBERG
30.10: Tieck, RUNENBERG, 2nd Paragraph, Workshop
1.11: Tieck, RUNENBERG
4.11: Tieck, ECKBERT, 2nd Paragraph, Final Version
6.11: Tieck, ECKBERT
8.11: Tieck, ECKBERT, Discussion
Delusion: The Madness of False Perception
11.11: No Classes
13.11: Hoffmann, SANDMANN
15.11: Hoffmann, SANDMANN
18.11: Hoffmann, SANDMANN
20.11: Hoffmann, SANDMANN, Discussion, 3RD Paragraph due
Repression: The Madness of Society
22.11: Goethe, TASSO
25.11: Goethe, TASSO
27.11: Schiller, VERBRECHER
29.11: No Classes
2.12: Kleist, ERDBEBEN
4.12: Kleist, ERDBEBEN, Discussion, Essay Question Due
6.12: Wrap-up, final discussions
13.12: Final Essay Due