Students can attend the course after the enrollment interview scheduled for June or September. Students who are completing their BA course may also attend the course after an admission interview.
The course mainly aims to introduce students to the knowledge of the genre of contemporary German-language family and generational novel. It will start from the political and cultural scenario of Germany at the time of the fall of the Berlin Wall. Students will be able to contextualize this literary genre in the historical period between the last decade of the XXth and the beginning of the XXIth century. They will be able to correlate the historical reconstruction with the narrative strategies of the texts, explaining the educational and political importance of family and generational novel. They wil have become familiar with the style, with the narrative format, also through the translation of some selected passages from the literary texts presented in class and with the representation of the most important concepts of german literature after the Fall of the Berlin Wall.
A historical and political contextualisation regarding the years of the fall of the Berlin Wall and German reunification will serve as an introduction to the course. This will be followed by an introduction to the German family and generational novel based on the text by Elena Agazzi “Erinnerte und rekonstruierte Geschichte. Drei Generationen deutscher Schriftsteller und die Fragen der Vergangenheit (2005). This text also includes an analysis of Dieter Forte’s trilogy “Das Haus auf meinen Schultern“ (1999). This work will serve to analyse the themes of historical memory, German guilt, emigration, the relationship between victims and perpetrators which were the object of the German Literature course given for the second year of the BA course in LLSM.
1) Elena Agazzi: Erinnerte und rekonstruierte Geschichte. Drei Generationen deutscher Schriftsteller und die Fragen der Vergangenheit, Vandehoeck & Ruprecht, Göttingen 2005.
2) Simone Costagli: L'autobiografia collettiva di una nazione. L'onda lunga dei Familienromane tedeschi, in Enthymema XX (2017) al link
3) Achim Geisenhanslüke, Forte, Dieter: Der Junge mit den blutigen Schuhen. Roman, in: Heribert Tommek et al., Wendejahr 1995. Transformationen der deutschsprachigen Literatur, De Gruyter, Berlin/Boston 2015, pp. 379-384.
4) Dieter Forte, Der Junge mit den blutigen Schuhen. Roman, Fischer, Frankfurt am Main 1995.
Supplementary lectures (for not attending students or for further study):
Aleida Assmann, Der lange Schatten der Vergangenheit. Erinnerungskultur und Geschichtspolitik, Beck, München 2018
The course will be delivered in German through lectures but also in seminar mode, inviting students to actively participate in the debate on the topics presented and to translate some selected passages from the literary texts presented in class. Students will be asked to present their own opinions on certain passages of the novel, under the guidance of the lecturer. They will also be expected to make specific references to the critical readings as listed in the course programme.
The exam will be oral. Three questions will be asked in German language and they will address: (1) considerations on the relationship between history and fiction (2) adequate historical-critical contextualisation of the main work presented in the program; analysis of the characteristics of the literary genre at the center of the course in relation to current theories on the subject (3) critical commentary on issues at stake in the works presented.
To obtain a positive grade students must be able to place the texts analyzed during the course in their historical and cultural context, and know the main elements of the bibliographical material. To obtain a highly positive grade students have to show in-depth knowledge of the texts analyzed during the course, commenting them from a linguistic and a philological point of view, also on the basis of the bibliographical material. To obtain an excellent grade students have to show an organic view of the topics discussed in class, to be able to use sources and bibliographical material, link topics, and master expressive skills.
Erasmus students and Double degree students are kindly requested to contact the Professor at the beginning of the course to discuss how to prepare for the exam. Students who have not followed the lessons of this module can obtain supplementary support materials by contacting the lecturer during office hours. First-year students who intend to apply for the Double degree programme with Bochum, are expected to have successfully passed a 10 CFU exam by the closing date of the call for applications. This exam also refers to other courses that have been completed in December. Students attending the Double degree programme are strongly recommended to attend the course.
NB: students are required to take the texts and materials required by the course program to the exam.