This course offers a systematic and chronological overview of German literary history. After dealing with the earlier periods like humanism, reformation and baroque, we will focus on Sturm und Drang, Weimarer Klassik, Romantik, Vormärz, Bürgerlicher Realismus, Literarische Moderne (Naturalismus, Dadaismus, Expressionismus) and the literature of the Weimar Republique.
We will read and analyse representative examples from the canon of German literature, i.a. plays by Bertolt Brecht and Georg Büchner, prose by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and Franz Kafka, poems by Heinrich Heine and Else Lasker-Schüler. In class, we will reflect on the forms and functions, potentials and limits of literary histories. When analysing epochs of German literary history and its most important authors and works, we will take the social, academic, philosophical and religious contexts that determined the German culture and its literary production into account.