Skip to main content

Unit information: German Literature and Film: Genres, Texts, Contexts in 2017/18

Please note: you are viewing unit and programme information for a past academic year. Please see the current academic year for up to date information.

Unit name German Literature and Film: Genres, Texts, Contexts
Unit code GERM10035
Credit points 20
Level of study C/4
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 1 (weeks 1 - 12)
Unit director Dr. Davies
Open unit status Open




School/department Department of German
Faculty Faculty of Arts

Description including Unit Aims

This unit develops knowledge and critical understanding of key concepts and genres in German literary culture. Through a selection of exemplary texts, canonical and otherwise, it introduces students to the genres of poetry, drama, prose writing and film, and invites reflection on the similarities and differences between them. Ranging across the modern period (since c. 1500), the unit also establishes an outline of German literary history and a basic set of methodological tools for reading literature and film. It develops and practises key skills in university-level literary study, notably: close reading, understanding and using textual scholarship and literary criticism, and forming an independent literary analysis. Written textual analysis is practised with two short exercises (e.g. commentary, book review, scene analysis) prior to the writing of a longer essay. All these skills and activities are specifically preparatory for the curriculum in Years 2, 3 and 4.

The unit thus aims:

  • to develop critical sensitivity to literary texts and films among first-year students of German and basic tools for the analysis of such material
  • to impart a broad knowledge of selected key figures, concepts and movements in modern German literary and cultural history
  • to inculcate good practices and attitudes in the study of cultural artefacts at university level, including: precision, curiosity, creativity, independence and imagination
  • to enhance students’ capacity to engage critically, in oral discussion and in writing, with primary material and with scholarship
  • to develop key technical skills for university study, notably in the retrieval and use of library resources and in effective writing

Intended Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this unit students will have demonstrated:

  1. knowledge of the periods and genres represented by the material chosen
  2. skill in reading both textually and visually, and sophisticated analytical skills appropriate for level 4
  3. skills in researching literary and cultural scholarship (via library and IT resources)
  4. ability to organise the results of this research in a range of written and oral forms
  5. ability to make an individual contribution to a collaborative group project

Teaching Information

1 x weekly Lecture and 1 x weekly seminar

Assessment Information

1 x short analytical texts, 750 words , testing ILOs 1-4 (25%)

1 in-class group presentation, testing ILOs 1-5 (25%)

Essay, 1 x 1500 words, testing ILOs 1-4 (50%)

Reading and References

Set texts are likely to change from year to year; students will be given a list of titles in advance of the semester in which the unit is taken.

Introductory reading:

Nicholas Boyle, German Literature: A Very Short Introduction (Oxford: OUP, 2008)

Judith Ryan, The Cambridge Introduction to German Poetry (Cambridge: CUP, 2012)

The Cambridge History of German Literature, ed. Helen Watanabe-O’Kelly (Cambridge: CUP, 1997)

The Cambridge Companion to Modern German Culture, ed. Eva Kolinsky and Wilfried van der Will (CUP, 1998)