Germanic Languages | Studies in German Authors
G416 | 2808 | Weiner
The course examines the work of the three most celebrated poets
writing in the German language since the death of Goethe: Rainer
Maria Rilke (1875-1926), Stefan George (1868-1933), and Hugo von
Hofmannsthal (1874-1929). In a period and a context of remarkable
cultural accomplishment—encompassing both the cosmopolitan
and “decadent” atmospheres of turn-of-the-century Vienna, Munich, and
Berlin and the utopian nature movements in the artist colonies of
northern Germany--these three contemporaries, colleagues, and rivals
authoritatively defined what it meant to be a poet in the German-
speaking world, to such an extent that their influence can still be
discerned today. Their work spanned the cultural spectrum of their
time, from the most exalted and refined craft of modernist poetry to
genres directed at the general public, including opera libretti,
journalism, and the novel. Equally significant is the fact that,
while these men primarily stylized themselves as working in the ivory
tower of pure art, they also took political positions and exerted in
some cases a great deal of influence on the vocabulary and the nature
of (often reactionary or even proto-fascist) political discourse and
The class will read some background materials concerning the lives of
these men and the major figures of their time (Sigmund Freud, Gustav
Klimt, Ernst Mach, Gustav Mahler, Arthur Schnitzler, Arnold
Schoenberg, Richard Strauss, Ludwig Wittgenstein) and will discuss
representative selections from their poetry and prose works. Most
discussions will be conducted in German. In the final two weeks of
the semester students will make presentations to the class (in German
or in English) of an independent project, and will submit their
findings, based on their research and their discussions with their
fellow classmates, in the form of a paper on May 6.
Burdorf, Dieter. Einführung in die Gedichtanalyse.
Hofmannsthal, Hugo von. Gedichte. Sammlung von 1922.
Hofmannsthal, Hugo von. Reitergeschichte und andere Erzählungen.
Hofmannsthal, Hugo von. Der Rosenkavalier. Libretto. Komödie in drei
Aufzügen von Hugo von Hofmannsthal.
George, Stefan. Gedichte.
Rilke, Rainer Maria. Die Aufzeichnungen des Malte Laurids Brigge.
Rilke, Rainer Maria. Gegenüber dem Himmel. Die schönsten Gedichte.