The present course will discuss German literature and thought from the period of the French Revolution to the turn of the twentieth century, and put it into a European context.
In regard to German literature, this is the period that leads from the Storm and Stress and Romanticism to the political period of the Vormärz, Realism, and finally Expressionism; in philosophy, it moves from German Idealism to the philosophy of Schopenhauer, Nietzsche, and neo-Kantian thought. It is also the period that saw the rise of the novel, and new forms of dramatic works. Painting moved out of the studio into plein air; the invention of photography made an imprint on all arts, and the rise of the newspaper led to new literary genres such as the feuilleton. Economically, Germany experienced the industrial revolution; politically, it was striving for a unification that was finally achieved in 1871. The nineteenth century saw the establishment of the bourgeoisie, the emergence of the German working class, and the idea of the nation state; it also saw Jewish emancipation, and the call for women’s rights.
Readings will focus on a variety of literary, political, and philosophical texts; and consider a selection of art works.