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GE207 German Culture in the Age of Revolution, 1789-1848

Module Code: GE207
Module Name: German Culture in the Age of Revolution, 1789-1848
Module Coordinator: Dr James Hodkinson
Tuesdays 16:00-17:00 Room: H4.02
Module Credits: 30

Module Description

The guiding theme of this course is the developing sense of German nationhood, against the background of the French Revolution and the Napoleonic wars. Work in term 1 will be focussed on the emergence of modern conceptions of the state, the idea of the nation and the classical ideal as an aesthetic and political model (ancient Greek art and literature, Athenian democracy, Roman republicanism), exemplified in Germany from Winckelmann to Goethe, Schiller and Hölderlin.

In term 2 the main focus will be on Romanticism in its social, political and cultural context. In the first half of the term we will explore the 'inner landscapes' of the Romantic cast of mind, as well as considering the ways in which the new conception of the artist's role in society and the quest for utopia are reflected in the visual arts and a selection of literary texts. In the second half of the term the course will explore the ways in which the Romantic Weltanschauung is subjected to a critical re-appraisal in the light of political developments in Germany and France in the early part of the nineteenth century. In particular, the course will consider the question of German nationalism and the ways in which this is reflected - and promoted - in the works of the 1830s. The final session of the term will consider the different models of historical progress put forward in the works studied and show how they anticipate social and political developments in the twentieth century.

In term 3, the course concludes with a special study of Heinrich Heine as one of the major writers of the Vormärz period. We will study his travelogue Die Harzreise which performs Heine's emergence from the Romantic mindset towards a modern scepticism and realism.

Assessment Method:

Two pieces of assessed work (20%), essay (30%) and written examination (50%).

Module outline: download here