Germanic Languages | Historical Study of German Literature III
G575 | 2987 | Michel Chaouli
G575 Literature and the Media, 1800 - 1900 (3 cr.) Michel Chaouli
4:00P-6:45P / R
G 575: Literature and the Media, 1800 - 1900
This course pursues two main goals. First, it explores how key texts
(literary and otherwise) written between about 1800 and 1900 can be
understood to reflect on their media-historical status, i.e., as
written, printed, bound, and commercially distributed instances of
communication. How does literature register its own means of
distribution (as book, in periodicals, on stage, etc.)? Does that
make any difference to the way it processes traditional forms and
topoi? And how does it observe and comment on other means of
communication available to its readers?
The second goal is to provide an introduction to the main concepts
and arguments in media theory, an area in which German scholars of
the past two decades have been exceptionally active, and one whose
reception is accelerating in the United States. The key text for our
purposes is Friedrich Kittler's Aufschreibesysteme 1800 / 1900,
perhaps the most original, influential, and controversial book in
Germanistik of the last twenty-five years. The key question for me
is which insights about literary or philosophical texts are
uncovered—and which obscured—when we shift our focus to the
communicative medium through which those texts are propagated.
Our primary authors will include Goethe, Kleist, Hoffmann, Wagner,
Nietzsche, Storm, Hofmannsthal, Morgenstern, Freud, and Rilke; the
media theory will draw on, among others, Adorno, J. and A. Assmann,
Baudrillard, Bolz, Enzensberger, Foucault, Habermas, Havelock,
Kittler, Lacan, Luhmann, McLuhan, Ong, and Plato. (It would be
useful for students to (re)read the Wahlverwandtschaften over the
You may use any edition of the texts we read (in some cases I
recommend a particular edition). German books can be bought through
IBIS (www.ibiservice.com) or, for used books, ABE (abebooks.de).
Michel Foucault, The Order of Things
Sigmund Freud, Die Psychopathologie des Alltagslebens
J.W. Goethe, Die Wahlverwandtschaften
E.T.A. Hoffmann, Der goldne Topf, Der Sandmann
Friedrich Kittler, Aufschreibesysteme 1800 / 1900, third ed. (Fink,
Marshall McLuhan, The Gutenberg Galaxy (U of Toronto P, 1962). This
book seems to be out of print. If you cannot find it used (e.g.,
through abebooks.com), then The Essential McLuhan (Basic Book, 1996)
would be a fine substitute.
Christian Morgenstern, Alle Galgenlieder
Friedrich Nietzsche, "Über die Zukunft unserer
Bildungsanstalten," "Über Wahrheit und Lüge im außermoralischen
Sinn," "Vom Nutzen und Nachteil der Historie"
R. M. Rilke, Die Aufzeichnungen des Malte Laurids Brigge
Theodor Storm, Der Schimmelreiter
All other readings will be included in a reader.