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3.17 Schlüsselwerke der deutschen Literatur von der Klassik bis zur Gegenwart

Instructor: Dr. Anja Richter
Language of instruction:
Course type:
Subject course, B-Track
Contact hours:
48 (6 per day)
Course days
: Tuesday & Friday
ECTS credits
: 4
Course fee:
€ 1,100
Can be combined with all A-Track courses
  • Syllabus (printable PDF incl. day-to-day schedule)

Course Description

This course provides an overview of the history of German literature from the 18th to the 21st century.

Starting from the knowledge that the psychological sensitivities of an age are reflected in literature, and supported by reading and discussing representative texts - e.g. from Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Heinrich Heine, Franz Kafka, Bertolt Brecht or Ferdinand von Schirach - the focus of the seminar is based on the following questions: What desires, demands and utopias can be found in the literature? How influential are the developments of the history of thought, social upheavals and technological innovations on literary expression? What interplay exists between art, music and literature? Can fiction also be seen as inspiration for social changes? And: how do the respective authors corporate literary legacies into their own works?

A valid and living impression of literary development from the classical period to the present will not only be provided through texts, but also through film clips and field trips. For instance, we will visit the Deutsches Historisches Museum and obtain deeper insight into the art of the Romantic period with a tour through the Alte Nationalgalerie.

Student Profile

Aside from the language requirements, participants must not exhibit any special knowledge of German literature or history. The seminar is directed toward students of various majors who are interested in German literature and its historical connections from the classic period to the modern day.


Language skills: Intermediate German B2/advanced level C1

Brief description of the B2 language level:

Able to understand the core content of complex texts on concrete and abstract themes; understands technical discussions in their own field. Able to spontaneously and fluently comprehend that a normal conversation with native speakers is easily possible with no great strain on either party. Able to clearly and precisely express themselves on a broad spectrum of subjects, express a standpoint on a topical question and provide the advantages and disadvantages of various possibilities.

Course Requirements

See Grading.


  • 30% Regular and active participation. Due to the seminar format, regular participation in the discussions is expected.
  • 25% Two brief essays (approx. 500 words = approx. 2 pages) on the various core themes of the subject.
  • 20% an oral presentation (approx. 15 minutes). The oral presentation should provide initial insight into the text in question, ask questions and formulate arguments, and stimulate discussion. The subjects will be assigned during the first week.
  • 25% a seminar paper of 6 pages.


Reader (will be made available at the beginning of the program).

Recommended Course Combinations (Selection)