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German Literature and the Pre-Modern Era

Germanic Languages And Literatures 342 - Spring 2019

In this introduction to the literary and intellectual history of the German-speaking world from roughly 800 CE to the 17th century, we will read English translations of some of the most influential authors and works in the medieval and early modern German tradition, including the "Heroic Age" (e.g., the Nibelungenlied), the classical period of the 12th and 13th centuries (Walther von der Vogelweide, Wolfram von Eschenbach, Gottfried von Stra├čburg), late-medieval philosophy and mysticism (Mechthild von Magdeburg, Meister Eckhart), early modern humanism and the reformation (Martin Luther). Students enrolled in this course engage in close and sustained reading of a set of texts that are indispensable for an understanding of the German-and European-literary tradition, texts that continue to offer invaluable insights into humanity and the world around us. Our discussions will focus on concepts such as heroism, chivalry, and courtly love, on questions regarding the relationship between the individual and society, the role of religion in society, and the emergence of modern mass media (the Gutenberg revolution). We will consider the texts both on their own terms and against the backdrop of the historical contexts in which they were written. Open to first-year students, non-majors, and majors. Admission to 400-level courses (except 402, 403D, 404, and 408D) is contingent on completion of this course, 340C/340D, or 341/341D. The main course is conducted in English, so this will only qualify for major or minor credit when taken in conjunction with one-hour discussion section in German (L21 342D). The discussion section provides and introduction to critical German vocabulary and is open to students with prior knowledge of German (German 210D or equivalent, or placement by examination).

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German Literature and the Pre-Modern Era
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