GE 13186: Love, Death, and Madness in German Literature

Instructor: Robert Norton

Literature University Seminar

Roiling passions, intense longing, violent hatred, murder, suicide and insanity: nothing human was unknown to German writers over the last two hundred years, and they wrote some of the most profound, moving and unsettling accounts of these extreme human emotions and experiences that we possess. In this course, we will explore works, mainly short stories and novellas, by some of Germany’s greatest writers—Goethe, Schiller, Heinrich von Kleist, Annette von Droste-Hülshoff, Marie von Ebner-Eschenbach, Thomas Mann, Franz Kafka, Ingeborg Bachmann, among others—that focus on these themes. In these works, we encounter through the characters and situations they present a picture of humanity that forces us to consider our own lives and assumptions anew.

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