Dr. Stephanie Galasso

If one takes Homer’s Odyssey as a starting point, much of Western literature is essentially a quest to find one’s way home. Modern German literature poses no exception to this timeworn theme. In this course, we will examine the thread of home as it develops over the course of German literary history.
From Goethe’s homesick heroine Iphigenie at the outset of German classicism, to the tortured wanderings of so many Romantic protagonists (Ludwig Tieck’s Christian in “Der Runenberg,” Dorothea Schlegel’s eponymous Florentin, and Novalis’ Heinrich von Ofterdingen), the origins of a “German” national literary tradition often entailed literary reflections on home and belonging. We will question to what extent these seemingly abstract meditations on home also express and respond to emerging notions of gender, domesticity, national identity, and civility.

In the second half of the course, we will consider the more overt political dimensions of this longing for home. We will read the works of authors such as Bertolt Brecht, Paul Celan, W. G. Sebald, and May Ayim, who, each in their own unique ways, invoke images of home as a means of resistance towards the violence of the twentieth century. We will also read essays from the recent pathbreaking anthology, Eure Heimat ist unser Albtraum (eds. Fatma Aydemir and Hengameh Yaghoobifarah).

Taught in German. Fulfills SAS core requirements AHp, WCd.

300-level German-language courses open to students who have either successfully completed German 232 or will be simultaneously enrolled in either German 231 or 232. May be repeated for credit.