Foreign Language 204

FORL 204: Masterpieces of German Literature in Translation

Prerequisites: Completion of English 101 and 102 (or the equivalent)

Credit Hours: (3)

Study of masterpieces of German literature translated into English. This course has been approved for General Education credit in the Area 4 Humanities of the curriculum under Literature Required (3 hours).


Detailed Description of Course

This course will introduce major German language literary works in translation in their cultural context. A variety of literary forms and a number of literary periods will be represented. Works or selections from works such as the following will be chosen:

  • The heroic epic Nibelungenlied
  • The picaresque novel Adventurous Simplicissimus
  • Goethe’s play Faust I
  • Schiller’s play Wilhelm Tell
  • Poetry by Goethe and Schiller
  • Novellas by e.g. Kleist and Droste-Hülshoff
  • The play Woyzeck by Büchner
  • Novellas by Keller
  • Poetry by Trakl and Rilke
  • Excerpts from the novel The Loyal Subject by Heinrich Mann
  • A novel by Hermann Hesse
  • Short prose by Kafka
  • The play The Physicists by Dürrenmatt
  • poetry by e.g. Brecht, Celan, Huchel, Bachmann,
  • short prose by e.g. Bichsel, Böll, Hildesheimer,Aichinger


Detailed Description of Conduct of Course

Students will read the works assigned or excerpts thereof in translation. The instructor will provide background information on the cultural, literary, and biographical context. Students will be encouraged to recognize literary techniques and to discuss a variety of interpretations and applications of the works read.


Student Goals and Objectives of the Course

Through a study of major literary works, authors, and genres of German speaking peoples, students will develop an appreciation of humanistic issues of significant interest to these cultures and how they are represented in literary works.

Broad General Education Goals. Students will be able to:

*think critically and creatively about ideas, issues, problems, and texts both within and across academic disciplines:

in the course of reading such literary works as those mentioned above, students will encounter particular culturally rooted expressions of, for example, the meaning of family, war, what it means to be human, prejudice, responsibility to society and to authorities, and the role of freedom, technology, emotion, and of the inner self.

*work with others in a shared process of inquiry and problem-solving:

students will collaborate in both writing (peer review) and orally in preparing their responses to these humanistic questions and their interpretations of their literary expressions.

*identify the cultural values that shape decisions in public, professional, and private life:

students will be able to identify varying cultural contexts, how they helped shape the content and form of the literary works selected, and compare these values in the works read to those in American culture.

Area 4 Humanities Goals. Students will be able to:

*demonstrate a basic knowledge of the nature and methods of inquiry in the humanities:

students will be encouraged to apply these culturally conditioned literary representations of fundamental humanistic questions to their own personal, social, and professional lives.

*interpret and critically evaluate classical and contemporary works of literature as diverse expressions of the human condition:

students will be able to explain similarities and differences in humanistic inquiry over time and in different cultures as manifest in the literature and to identify how the literary forms make these expressions effective.


Assessment Measures

Two to three hour-exams and a final exam, consisting of both short identifications (literary terms, writers, influential historical events and figures, other cultural influences on literature), and short essays encouraging analysis and application of the literary, cultural, and humanistic themes from passages of literary works studied in class; oral discussions of the passages studied in class; and 8-10 pages of writing allowing the students the opportunity to pursue themes of personal interest in greater detail and to apply humanistic insights gathered from the works to other fields of inquiry. Revision of students’ writing, including peer revision, is required.

The class discussions and the writing will afford the students ample opportunity to pursue a shared process of inquiry, and along with the tests they will encourage students to apply new cultural and literary perspectives in an interdisciplinary fashion both to the periods studied as well as to their own lives.


Other Course Information

FORL 204 may be taken as a course in Area 4 to complete the required three hours in literature. It may also be taken to satisfy the optional 0-3 hour Area 4 requirement. FORL 204 provides an opportunity for more extensive study of German literature than would be possible in ENGL 201, Masterpieces of World Literature.


Approval and Subsequent Reviews

September 2005 Reviewed Philip Sweet