German 244


German 244: German Literature in Translation

This course examines issues of division and unity in German literature from 1945 until today. We will be reading works by such important authors as Wolf Biermann, Volker Braun, Uwe Johnson, Monika Maron, Irmtraud Morgner, Heiner Müller, Christa Wolf, and Anna Seghers from the former GDR. West German authors include Ingeborg Bachmann, Heinrich Böll, Paul Celan, Günter Grass, Hans Magnus Enzensberger, Wolfgang Koeppen, Nelly Sachs, and Peter Schneider. In the first half of the course we will be comparing the literature of the two Germanys and ask questions like: were there two different literatures during the time of the existence of the two German states? How did the two different states define the task and function of literature? How did the writers from the one state represent the other German state in their texts? How did the writers in each state thematize the recent past. The second half of the course then examines the literature from the time of and after the Wende. We will be reading some of the early reactions to the fall of the wall and discuss the problems East German writers faced after unification. In the texts that were written after 1989 we will be searching for differences to earlier texts to come out of the GDR not only in terms of topics discussed but also in terms of aesthetic innovation. The texts examined include poems, novels, plays, and songs in English translation.

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Page last modified: 10/29/03