Germanic Languages | German Cultural History
G364 | TBA | Rasmussen

G364: The Brothers Grimm and Fantastic Literature & Film from Germany

Everyone knows the Brothers Grimm. When we hear their name some of us
may think fondly about being read to as a child; certainly we all know
many of the Disney movies; and there will also be some of us who think
of Matt Damon in Terry Gilliam’s "The Brothers Grimm" (2005). Little
Red Riding Hood, Cinderella, and all the rest seem to belong
comfortably to the simple pleasures of childhood, or at any rate to
insipid Hollywood fantasy...but if you’ve never read what the Grimm
brothers actually wrote down (and depend on it, the stories you heard
as a child were edited versions), you are in for a real shock when you
do. All those familiar stories are somehow different--the simple sweet
stories we thought we knew are actually not so sweet after all, and
many of them are gruesome, grotesque, and, yes, grim. They are also
fantastic stories, in every sense of the word.

In this course we will explore the world of fantastic literature and
film from Germany--a world you don’t know as well as you might think
you do. It is the goal of our course to explore the relationships
between “the fantastic,” “the uncanny,” “the supernatural,” and “the
grotesque” in literature and film of the 19th and 20th centuries, by
engaging with some of the best and most representative works of art
that have come from Germany. In addition to the Brothers Grimm, we
will also consider artistic fairy tales from the 19th and 20th
centuries by such authors as E.T.A. Hoffmann, Tieck, and Kafka; silent
films like "Nosferatu" and "Metropolis"; and more recent films such as
"Ever After" (1998) and "The Brothers Grimm" (2005), films that
demonstrate our society’s continuing fascination with the fairy tale
and the traditions of the fantastic. Several theoretical and secondary
sources will help us along the way, but we will not be bound by any
particular mode of interpretation.

No knowledge of German is necessary for this course; all readings and
discussion will be in English. The only prerequisites for the class
are a willingness to participate actively in classroom discussions and
an interest in fantastic works of art. Class responsibilities will
include careful reading and film viewing, five short papers (40% of
total grade), a group presentation (20%), and a final examination (40%).

Required Texts:

Tatar, Maria M. (ed.) The Classic Fairy Tales: Texts, Criticism
(Norton Critical
Editions) W. W
Norton & Company; 1st ed edition (November 1998) ISBN: 0393972771

Hoffmann, E.T.A. The Golden Pot and Other Tales : A New Translation by
Ritchie Robertson
(Oxford World's Classics) (Paperback) Oxford University Press, USA
(September 7, 2000) ISBN: 0192837230

Kafka, Franz. The Metamorphosis, In the Penal Colony, and Other
Stories (Schocken Kafka Library) (Paperback) Schocken (November 14, 1995)
ISBN: 0805210571

Freud, Sigmund. The Uncanny (Penguin Classics) (Paperback) Hugh
Haughton (Introduction), David McLintock (Translator). Penguin
Classics (September 30, 2003)
ISBN: 0142437476

Todorov, Tsvetan. The Fantastic: A Structural Approach to a Literary
Genre (Cornell Paperbacks)
Cornell University Press (May 1975) ISBN: 0801491460