Germanic Languages | German Cultural History
G364 | 15133 | Mills
2nd 8 wk course
Topic:: Honor and Violence in Austro-German Culture of the long 19th
What influenced men to stand a proscribed distance from one another
and carefully shoot at each other with pistols? What inspired young
university students to slice open each other’s faces in ritualistic
sword bouts? What drove women and men of sound mind and body to commit
suicide? The answer lies somewhere in a phenomenon scholars have
termed ‘honor codes’, ‘the code of masculine honor’, or the
Satisfaktionsgesellschaft—a society in which honor obliges certain
individuals to behave in a particular manner. But what precisely is an
honor codex, and what influence did honor enjoy over members of
society? What is the link between this honor and deadly or injurious
violence? Who was excluded from having honor, and why?
We will address these questions and many others as we make our way
through an exploratory study of Austro-German culture and literature
which stretches from the early 19th century to the First World War.
This course examines novels, short stories, and dramas, while likewise
analyzing historical artifacts such as postcards, letters, and
photographs. An array of secondary literature on dueling and violence
will be consulted, as will the biographies of prominent German
intellectuals who found themselves entangled in honor violence.
Requirements for this course include regular attendance, completion of
reading assignments, and active participation in classroom discussion.
Final grades will be determined also by an in-class midterm, a final
exam, and two short papers/take-home exams.
Schnitzler, Arthur. Undiscovered country. In an English version by Tom
Stoppard. London: Faber and Faber, 1980. Paperback edition. ISBN:
McAleer, Kevin. Dueling: The Cult of Honor in Fin-de-Siècle Germany.
Princeton University Press, 1997. Paperback edition. ISBN: 0691015945
Remarque, Erich Maria. All Quiet on the Western Front.
Ballantine Books, 1987. Mass market paperback version. ISBN 0449213943
Fontane, Theodor. Effi Briest. Penguin Classics, Paperback Edition. 2004.
ISBN: 9780140447668 Hugh Rorrison and Helen Chambers – Translators.