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Durham University

School of Modern Languages and Cultures: German Studies

Reading German Culture

Academic Year 2018-2019

The impact of German culture extends far beyond Germany’s shifting borders. Key figures in German cultural and intellectual history – such as Nietzsche, Kafka, Freud – profoundly shaped our understanding of the modern world. This module aims to introduce students to some of the central concepts that have shaped writing and thinking in German. Studying landmark texts in their cultural context, we explore relationships between fiction and truth; imagination and history; reading and morality. The course stresses the fact that culture, literature, and thought are inseparably entwined. In doing so, students will be introduced to relevant analytical and interpretative frameworks which will help them to engage critically with the texts under consideration.

Texts likely to be studie include:

  • August Bebel, Die Frau und der Sozialismus (Woman and Socialism) (excerpts)
  • Friedrich Nietzsche, Über Wahrheit und Lüge im aussermoralischen Sinne (On Truth and Lie in an Extra-Moral Sense)
  • Sigmund Freud, Die Traumdeutung (The Interpretation of Dreams) (excerpts)
  • Hugo von Hofmannsthal, Ein Brief (A Letter)
  • Franz Kafka, Die Verwandlung (The Metamorphosis)

Module Coordinator:

Dr Benjamin Schaper, Room A14, Elvet Riverside I

Further details of pre-requisites, co-requisites, aims, contact hours and assessment