Seminar in the 19th Century


This course treats formations of national culture in Imperial Germany after unification in 1871. We will examine literature and canon-formation, painting, monuments, school plays, school readers, and books for children, examining them for the myths, values, and patriotic images espoused by those promoting national culture. Affirmative cultural artifacts and phenomena will be contrasted with literary works that give voice to discontent and unease with developments after 1871. Throughout we will discuss the continued role of the French in and French influence on the German imaginary as well as the discomfort that integrating disparate territories within the Empire created, where natives of one province were strangers to one another. We will likewise ask how imperial German colonialism abetted and undermined the national project. Finally we will consider how modern times, figured as strangers and strangeness, obstructed and intruded in the formation and maintenance of conservative national culture within the German empire. Authors treated include Fontane, Thomas Mann, Raabe, Storm, Viebig, Wagner, and others. Readings in German, Discussion in English.
Course Attributes:

Section 01

Seminar in Literature of the 19th Century
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