Germanic Languages | Seminar in German Literature
G825 | 26336-26337 | F. Breithaupt

Topic: The Narrative and the Non-Narrative

This is a course in experimental humanities. Building on some
cognitive science work on the “narrative mind hypothesis,” the
course will aim to do a better job in figuering out what precisely
narrative is, what a narrative mind could be, and finally how the
world of a narrative mind would look like. At the same time, we will
treat the notion of the non-narrative seriously as a true
alternative. Our aim is to specutively construct a human being who
is completely defined by his narrative mind and one human being who
is defined by his complete lack of narrative thinking.
The discussions will cover a broad spectrum of questions.
For example: “Do we have ethics (or: religion) because we have
narrative(s)?”, “How does memory (or: experience) without narrative
operate?”, “How does film narrate differently from text fictions?”
and, of course, “What precisely is a narrative?”
A focus of our discussion will be texts written around the end of
the eighteenth-century and the beginning of the nineteenth century.
The precise syllabus will be discussed with all participants
according to their interests & projects. I would be happy to receive
suggestions. Among the more canonical works that I will propose are:

Aristotle, Poetics
Wolfram von Eschenbach, Parzifal
Lessing, Laokoon
Goethe (esp. excp. from Lehrjahre, Wahlverwandtschaften,
Wanderjahre, Die Novelle)
Kleist, anecdotes and a novella
Nietzsche, Geburt der Tragödie
Walter Benjamin, Der Erzähler
Roland Barthes, La Préparation du Roman

The course is offered in Germanic Studies and cross-listed with
Comparative Literature. For those who can read German, I recommend
using the German texts. All texts exists in English versions as
well. Participants will be expected to produce a minimum of 25 pages
for the course, broken down in as many individual texts as desired.
The written work should include at least one (possibly quite short)
speculation of one feature of the narrative or the non-narrative

Book Orders:
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Novelle, Reclam: ISBN-10:3-15-007621-8
Heinrich von Kleist, Anekdoten, Reclam: ISBN-10:3-15-008004-5
Friedrich Nietzsche, Geburt der Tragödie, Reclam: ISBN: 3-15-007131-3

Cross listed withCMLT-C533