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Seminar in Literature of the Late 18th Century

Germanic Languages And Literatures 524 - Spring 2019

This seminar is designed to provide students with an in-depth introduction to the complete text of Goethe's Faust. Our reading and discussion of the drama will unfold against the backdrop of three distinct but interrelated contexts. 1) We will consider Faust from a literary-historical perspective, situating the work within Goethe's own literary oeuvre as well within the frameworks of eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century German literature more generally and of the long history of literary Faust adaptations. 2) We will also approach Faust from an intellectual-historical perspective, attempting to understand how it engages with the key philosophical discussions and debates of the period during which it was written: theodicy, the dialectic of enlightenment, and the legitimacy of the modern age. 3) Finally, we will read a selection of scholarly essays that demonstrate how Faust sheds light on various theoretical and scholarly pre-occupations, from the relationship between literature and economics to questions of gender and sexuality. One of the aims of the seminar is to expose students, on the basis of an exemplary case study, to a wide range of models of scholarly inquiry. Readings of the primary text will be supplemented with video of performances as well as adaptations of the Faust material to other media.
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Section 01

Seminar in Literature of the Late 18th Century
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