Skip to main content Skip to navigation

GE109 Passion and Power. The Makings of Modern German Culture.

Module aims

The aims of this module are:

  • to provide an introduction to the intellectual and literary currents that shaped German culture in the second half of the eighteenth century as it emerged as a national culture of European significance;
  • to provide an introduction to the ways in which individual works of literature can be read and interpreted in relation to the larger social, political and cultural context, via the study of selected representative texts from the period 1770-1786;
  • to provide an introduction to the skills needed for a critical interpretation of works from the main literary genres (poetry, narrative prose, drama).
Learning outcomes

By the end of this module, you should:

  • have gained knowledge and critical understanding of a key period in the culture and history of Germany and insight into the range and variety of its cultural practices;
  • be able to apply this knowledge in the independent critical analysis of a range of set texts from the period 1770-1786.

In addition, the module will provide training in the following skills:

  • the ability to abstract and synthesize key information from written and spoken sources in German and English;
  • the ability to organize, present, and defend ideas within the framework of a structured and reasoned argument;
  • the ability to formulate your opinions (for example, in essays) with reference to established interpretations;
  • the ability to analyse critically a range of materials in German and English (primary texts, secondary sources, contextualizing historical material);
  • the ability to apply critical methodologies to the analysis of literary texts;
  • the ability to conduct independent research using library and bibliographic resources and ICT skills.

The module is taught by a combination of weekly lectures and tutorials.

Lectures take place on Fridays 10.00-11.00am in room S09 (Social Studies Building). These provide general background information on the period, introductions to the set texts and their authors and to literary critical methodology.

Tutorials are one hour per week. In these, the focus is on the close reading of set texts. Times and rooms are posted in the Department on the notice board, and detailed programmes will be provided by individual tutors. Note that in Term 1, the first set of tutorials will be in Week 2.

Set texts

All students need to buy the following books and should do preparatory reading before the lectures and tutorials:

Goethe, Selected Poetry (London: Penguin Classic)

Goethe, Die Leiden des jungen Werther (Reclam)

Lessing, Emilia Galotti (Reclam)

Schiller, Kabale und Liebe (Reclam)

Tutors may require additional reading on a week-to-week basis. You should also expect to do independent work, either individually or as part of a group, in preparation for your tutorial, as instructed by your tutor.