G416 | 17028 | Fritz Breithaupt

Topic: When Literature and Psychology were Still One and the Same:
Goethe and Moritz

This course will look at the lives and works of two extraordinary men:
Johann Wolfgang Goethe, the German half-God of literature, and Karl
Philipp Moritz, the inventor of empirical psychology. It is a course
about an extraordinary friendship that changed the world as we know
it. Their ideas re-shaped what we now understand to be literature and
how we understand the development of the mind or psyche. While they
are both known nowadays for two different things, Goethe for
literature and Moritz for psychology, we will discover what Goethe has
to do with psychology and what Moritz did for the project of literature.

Specifically, our task will be to develop theories of how the
individual psyche develops. We will carry the following questions to
the texts by these two men: How exactly does our past shape us and
what does that mean for us? Do we still have a free will? And how do
we relate to other people? These questions will also allow us to build
our own ideas today: do we agree or differ to the accounts of these men?

There will be a lot of freedom for you how to respond to these
questions, ranging from traditional essays to creative writing or
movie scripts.

We will read the key novel of each of these authors and some selected
writings. Most readings and our discussions will be in German.

Your tasks in this course will be:

1)	read complex (but quite exciting) German narrative texts
2)	learn about the time period around 1780-1795
3)	write 3 short essays or creative writings assignments, 1000 words
each (2 in German)
4)	do one creative group presentation (theatre skit; parody;
impersonation, etc.)
5)  midterm exam (and an optional take-home final to substitute other

Furthermore, if you are willing, you will be part of a psychological
experiment modeled after the work of Karl Philipp Moritz.

Please email me if you have any questions at:

- Karl Philipp Moritz, “Dichtungen und Schriften…,” Deutscher
Klassiker Verlag (paperback) ISBN: 3618680082; EAN: 9783618680086 (18
- Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, “Wilhelm Meisters Lehrjahre,” dtv, ISBN:
EAN: 9783423124041 (12,50 Euros)
- Class Reader