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Course Descriptions

Department of Germanic Languages and Literatures

Adjacent to Halsey Hall
University of Virginia
P.O. Box 400125
Charlottesville, VA 22904-4125
(434) 924-3530 Fax: (434) 924-6700

Overview The study of Germanic languages and literatures is a human or cultural science that attempts to apply the concept of "criticism," in the broadest sense of the term to language, literature, culture, film, intellectual history, philosophy, and theory of the German speaking countries. As this wide range indicates, the field is interdisciplinary in nature. German majors are encouraged, therefore, to take courses in such humanistic disciplines as history, philosophy, other foreign languages, criticism, theory, film studies, feminist theory and criticism, comparative literature, and religious studies.

Although the undergraduate program stresses literary and cultural studies, the department is also actively concerned with assisting students whose interests are non-literary: students who are primarily interested in, for example, the structure and history of the language of film.

Faculty According to national rankings, the department is one of the nation’s most prestigious. This is in part due to the diverse nature of the interests and expertise of the twelve faculty members who comprise the department. From medieval courtly romance to postmodern literature and literary theory, the department attempts to provide a range of course work that is both challenging and far reaching. Some of the more nationally prominent faculty have published several influential books. Their scholarship explores a wide expanse: 18th- and 19th-century German literature and literary theory, 20th-century German writers and thinkers, Freud, existentialism, German expressionism, the theory and history of drama, postwar German literature, feminist literary theory, narrative theory, lyric poetry, and film studies. Faculty members have also concentrated their work on the lives, philosophies, and literature of several prominent German writers and thinkers: Kafka, Musil, Rilke, Hofmannsthal, and Brecht.

Students The department has approximately thirty-five majors and twenty minors. Of the thirty-five majors, approximately one-half are double majors. German and English, German and mathematics, German and history, German and foreign affairs, German and French, and German and economics are most popular double majors. Outstanding undergraduates have undertaken graduate study at other leading German departments. Others have chosen law or medical school, or pursued careers in business, economics, and foreign affairs.

Class size typically ranges from ten to sixty students; the larger courses are German in translation courses, popular because of the nationally ranked faculty who teach them. With the exception of introductory and intermediate level language courses, all classes are taught by faculty.

Special Resources

Study Abroad The department encourages its students to spend a summer, semester, or a full academic year abroad. The University has a program available to undergraduates at the Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena and at the Universität Dortmund.

The German House The department currently maintains a German House in which twelve students can reside with a native speaker. The house is located near the University Grounds and is a meeting place for undergraduates, graduates, and faculty. It also serves as a site for colloquia and discussion groups.

Requirements for Major Requirements for the Bachelor of Arts degree in German include ten courses or 30 credits in German at the 300 level or above, including GERM 300, 301, 311 or 312, one 400-level German literature course, and one additional German literature course. Enrollment in any 500-level course requires the instructor’s permission. No more than two GETR/YITR courses are accepted.

Distinguished Majors Program in German This program is available to German majors presenting an overall GPA of 3.400 and a letter of recommendation from a department faculty member. The DMP consists of GERM 460 (Senior Seminar), a graduate course (500-level or above), GERM 490 (Thesis) or GERM 491 (Honors Research and Thesis), in addition to the requirements for the German major. Students may elect a full-year program (GERM 491) or semester program (GERM 490) their senior year. In either case, an honors thesis of approximately 25 pages (one semester program) or 40 pages (full-year program) is to be submitted by April 25.

Requirements for Minor Six courses or 18 credits in German at the 300-level, including GERM 300 and 301. Only one GETR/YITR course may be counted toward the minor.

High School Teaching in German For students interested in pursuing a high school teaching career, there are two options in conjunction with the Curry School of Education: a five-year program, in which the student may earn two degrees, a Bachelor of Arts and a Master of Teaching, and a 15-month program, the post-baccalaureate Master of Teaching. For more information, contact Alicia Belozerco, Curry School of Education, Ruffner Hall or Janette Hudson, German Department, Cocke Hall.

GERM 111 and 112 These two courses are for beginners. All students with any previous background in German who have not taken the SAT II Subject Test or the Advanced Placement test must take the German placement test if they plan to take German at any time in their college career. This test is administered during summer and fall orientation only. The sequence of courses is GERM 101, 102, 201, 202. Once a student has placed in the required course sequence, she or he must complete each successive course with a passing grade. A student may not skip, for example, from GERM 102 to GERM 202. Students may not take more than one course in the sequence at a time. Those who place higher than course 202 in a language and have successfully taken an advanced placement examination in that language are relieved of the foreign language requirement for the degree of Bachelor of Arts.

Additional Information For more information, contact the Director of Undergraduate Studies, Department of Germanic Languages and Literatures, 108 Cocke Hall, P.O. Box 400125, Charlottesville, VA 22904-4125; (434) 924-3530; www.virginia.edu/german.

Course Descriptions


Note: Unless otherwise stated, GERM courses are conducted in German. GETR courses have readings and discussions in English.

German in Translation

GETR 150 - (3) (IR)
Goethe in Translation
Study of the life and works of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. Poetry, prose, some plays, and a careful reading of his masterpiece, Faust.

GETR 170 - (3) (IR)
First Year Seminar
Seminar on some aspect of German culture.

GETR 200 - (3) (Y)
Germany Today
Introduces students to the variety of topics, issues, and current events central to an initial understanding of modern Germany in its European context.

GETR 220 - (3) (E)
20th Century German Literature in Translation
Survey of Germany’s major writers from the turn of the 20th century (Kafka, Heym) to the end of the century (Schlink, Grass). Works by Rilke, Hesse, Brecht, Bill, and others are included. The course is taught in English, using translations. Regular attendance and participation required.

GETR 250 - (3) (IR)
Taught in English, this course explores the origins of the Faust myth in the Renaissance and addresses many of its literary, musical, and artistic adaptations to the present. Emphasizes Goethe.

GETR 333 - (3) (IR)
Introduction to German Culture
Studies significant tendencies in major segments of German culture from the enlightenment to the present.

GETR 340 - (3) (O)
German Intellectual History from Leibniz to Hegel
Reading and discussion of central theoretical texts in the German tradition 1700-1810, including works by Leibniz, Herder, Lessing, Kant, Schiller, Fichte, and Hegel.

GETR 341 - (3) (IR)
Nietzsche and Modern Literature
Reading and thorough discussion of the major works of Nietzsche, in English translation, from the Birth of Tragedy to Twilight of the Idols. Emphasizes the impact of Nietzsche on 20th-century literature and thought in such diverse authors as Shaw, Rilke, Thomas Mann, and Kafka. A term paper submitted in two stages and a final examination.

GETR 342 - (3) (IR)
German Intellectual History From Nietzsche to the Present
Readings in philosophical and social history of Germany from the late 19th century onward.

GETR 344 - (3) (IR)
Problems of Identity in Modern German Literature
All classes and reading in English. Explores the themes of self-realization and identity crisis in 20th-century German literature. Includes works by Hesse, Kafka, Mann, Brecht, Boell, and Canetti. Informal lectures, discussion, and videos of several works read.

GETR 345 - (3) (IR)
Children’s Literature
Studies the nature and aims of children’s literature, primarily European and American, from the 17th century onward.

GETR 346 - (3) (IR)
Topics in German Literature
Examines such myths as Faust and Tristan, along with the modernist parody of them.

GETR 347 - (3) (IR)
Literature of the Holocaust
Introduces the most significant texts of Holocaust literature and surveys important philosophical and historical reflections on the meaning of the Holocaust.

GETR 348 - (3) (IR)
German Literature in Translation
Outstanding works of German literature read and discussed in English.

GETR 349 - (3) (IR)
Discusses Ibsen’s major plays, in English translation. No knowledge of a Scandinavian language is needed; does not fulfill the language requirement.

GETR 350 - (3) (E)
German Cinema
Analyzes the aesthetics and semiotics of film, with a focus on German expressionism and New German Cinema.

GETR 353 - (3) (IR)
Jewish Culture and History in Eastern Europe
This course is a comprehensive examination of the culture and history of East European Jewry from 1750 to 1935. Course cross-listed with HIEU 353.

GETR 370 - (3) (IR)
Feminism and Socialism
Studies feminism in socialist ideology and practice. Focuses on the status of women and feminist literature in the former German Democratic Republic and the former Soviet Union.

GETR 375 - (3) (IR)
Comparative Literature from a German Perspective
Reading and discussion of German texts compared to texts from other literatures (all in English translation), with the aim of illuminating a central theoretical, historical, or social issue that transcends national boundaries.

GETR 393 - (3) (Y)
Nazi Germany
Detailed survey of Hitler’s life and its political, social, and cultural consequences. Documentary videos are included. Taught in English.

Courses Taught in German

GERM 101, 102 - (4) (S)
Elementary German
Introduces the essentials of German structure and syntax; emphasizes oral and written proficiency in German. Five class sessions. Language laboratory required. Followed by GERM 201, 202.

GERM 101G, 102G - (3) (SS)
Reading Course in German
For Graduate of Arts and Sciences students who want a reading knowledge of German for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy. Open to undergraduates, but does not count toward fulfillment of the language requirement.

GERM 111, 112 - (4) (S)
Intensive Elementary German
Introductory language course emphasizing the skill of reading, not a traditional reading course. Original German texts are used for practice of all skills. Counts toward fulfillment of the language requirement. Followed by GERM 201, 202.

GERM 201, 202 - (3) (S)
Intermediate German
Prerequisite: GERM 101, 102, or equivalent.
Readings in German prose and poetry, and review of German structure and syntax. Language laboratory required.

GERM 300 - (3) (S)
Intensive Grammar
Prerequisite: GERM 202 or equivalent.
Systematic review of German grammar, syntax, and vocabulary. May be taken concurrently with GERM 202H.

GERM 301 - (3) (S)
Introduction to Literature
Prerequisite: GERM 300 or instructor permission.
Analysis of major literary works for a better understanding of literature in general.

GERM 311 - (3) (Y)
Survey of Literature II
Prerequisite: GERM 301.
German literature from 1890 to the present.

GERM 312 - (3) (Y)
Survey of Literature I
Prerequisite: GERM 301.
German literature from 1750 to 1890.

GERM 322 - (1-3) (Y)
German Drama: Stage Production
Prerequisite: GERM 202 or comparable language proficiency.
Interprets and stages a representative play in German with students as actors and producers. May be taken more than once for credit, but only once for major credit.

GERM 323 - (3) (S)
Composition and Conversation
Prerequisite: GERM 300.
Practice in writing and speaking German.

GERM 324 - (3) (IR)
Advanced Composition and Conversation
Prerequisite: GERM 323.
Further practice in writing and speaking German.

GERM 325 - (3) (IR)
Commercial German I
Prerequisite: GERM 323.
Introduces the specialized language of the business world and German business practices.

GERM 326 - (3) (IR)
Commercial German II
Prerequisite: GERM 325.
Continuation of GERM 325.

GERM 329 - (1) (Y)
May be taken more than once for credit, but only once for major credit.

GERM 330 - (1) (Y)
May be taken more than once for credit, but only once for major credit.

GERM 331 - (3) (IR)
Topics in German Culture
Prerequisite: GERM 301 or 323.
Studies selected aspects of German culture, such as opera. May be repeated for credit.

GERM 334 - (3) (IR)
German and Austrian Culture, ca. 1900
Prerequisite: GERM 301 or 323.
Studies literature, the arts, politics, and social developments between 1870 and 1918.

GERM 335 - (3) (IR)
Weimar Republic and Nazi Germany
Prerequisite: GERM 301 or 323.
Studies German life between 1918 and 1945.

GERM 336 - (3) (IR)
Postwar German Culture
Prerequisite: GERM 301 or 323.
Readings in the cultural, social, and political histories of the German-speaking countries since 1945.

GERM 351 - (3) (IR)
Lyric Poetry
Prerequisite: GERM 301.
Major forms and themes in German lyric poetry.

GERM 352 - (3) (IR)
Prerequisite: GERM 301.
Analyzes and discusses representative German novelle from Kleist to the present.

GERM 353 - (3) (IR)
Prerequisite: GERM 301.
Investigates dramatic theory and practice emphasizing major German authors and movements.

GERM 355 - (3) (IR)
Prerequisite: GERM 301.
Studies major works by Goethe and Schiller, as well as authors who shared their classical values.

GERM 356 - (3) (IR)
Prerequisite: GERM 301.
German literature from 1800 to 1830 and its influence.

GERM 357 - (3) (IR)
Prerequisite: GERM 301.
Major German authors from 1890 to 1945.

GERM 358 - (3) (IR)
Postwar Literature
Prerequisite: GERM 301.
Representative German authors since 1945.

GERM 361 - (3) (IR)
Topics in German Literature
Prerequisite: GERM 301.
Seminar in German literature. May be repeated for credit.

GERM 370 - (3) (IR)
Bertolt Brecht
Studies Brecht’s life and works, including plays, poems, and theoretical writings.

GERM 420 - (3) (IR)
Advanced Translation
Prerequisite: GERM 300.
Focuses on the skills and techniques of literary translation from English to German and German to English. Emphasizes translation as a distinct creative endeavor and works from extended texts to develop accuracy and stylistic competence in the art of translating.

GERM 450 - (3) (Y)
Prerequisite: GERM 324.
Refinement of German prose style.

GERM 460 - (3) (Y)
Fourth-Year Seminar
Prerequisite: GERM 301 and other literature courses.
Literary analysis for advanced students.

GERM 470 - (1-3) (S)
Independent Study
Prerequisite: Approval by a supervising faculty member.

GERM 490 - (3) (S)
Honors Thesis
Prerequisite: Admission to the DMP, permission of undergraduate advisor and a supervising faculty member.
Directed research for, and composition of, an extended essay.

GERM 491 - (6) (S)
Honors Research and Thesis
Prerequisite: Admission to the DMP, permission of undergraduate advisor and a supervising faculty member.

GERM 500 - (3) (IR)
Critical Writing and Bibliography
Supervised practice in the organization and writing of articles for scholarly journals. Includes introduction to bibliography.

GERM 505 - (3) (IR)
Special Topics
Major figures, genres, or literary problems serve as the focus for an intensive course within any literary period.

GERM 510 - (3) (IR)
Middle High German
Introduces Middle High German grammar and includes readings in Middle High German literature.

GERM 512 - (3) (IR)
Medieval German Lyric Poetry
Prerequisite: Knowledge of Middle High German.
Selections from the Minnesang in the context of the development of Middle High German poetry.

GERM 514 - (3) (IR)
Arthurian Romance
Prerequisite: Knowledge of Middle High German.
Theory and analysis of the chief German Arthurian romances: Erec, Parzival, Iwain, and Tristan.

GERM 521 - (3) (IR)
Reformation to Baroque, 1700
German literature from 1500 to 1680.

GERM 523 - (3) (IR)
Weise to Wieland
German literature from 1680 to 1750.

GERM 525 - (3) (IR)
Age of Goethe I
Studies German Storm and Stress and Classicism, focusing on Goethe and Schiller.

GERM 526 - (3) (IR)
Age of Goethe II
Examines Weimar classicism.

GERM 530 - (3) (IR)
German literature and intellectual history from 1795 to 1830.

GERM 537 - (3) (IR)
Nineteenth Century
Studies major writers and works from 1830 to 1890, including Grillparzer, Stifter, Heine, Hebbel, Keller, Storm, Fontane.

GERM 547 - (3) (IR)
Turn of the Century
Discusses the major literary movements at the turn of the century with analysis of representative works by Hofmannsthal, Schnitzler, George, Rilke, Thomas Mann, Musil, Kafka, and others.

GERM 548 - (3) (IR)
Twentieth Century
Introduces the main currents of German literature since 1920, emphasizing major authors and traditions.

GERM 550 - (3) (IR)
Studies in Lyric Poetry
Investigates the theory and practice of lyric poetry in Germany, emphasizing major authors and traditions.

GERM 551 - (3) (IR)
Studies in Prose Fiction
Studies representative works of fiction–either novels or shorter forms–with special attention to formal and thematic developments, and representative theories of fiction.

GERM 552 - (3) (IR)
Studies in Drama
Investigates dramatic theory and practice in Germany, emphasizing major authors and traditions.

GERM 560 - (3) (IR)
Old Icelandic
Prerequisite: Graduate Standing or instructor permission.
An introduction to the language and literature of the Vikings, with exercises in the grammar and basic vocabulary of Icelandic. We use the modern pronunciation and spelling modern of Icelandic to practice reading aloud, and there is frequent practice in translating from Icelandic into English. The course will include readings of passages from the classical literature and the whole of Gisla Saga. Texts: Chapman, Kenneth G. Graded Readings and Exercises in Old Iceland, revised by Kellogg and Plail, 1997; Kellogg, Readings in Old Icelandic; Adilsteinn Eythorsson and Bergljot Krisjansdottir, ed. Gisla Saga. Mal og menning, 1999.

GERM 584 - (3) (IR)
Introduction to Literary Theory
Examines current theories of literature, including Marxist, psychoanalytic, formalist, structuralist, and hermeneutic approaches.

GERM 588 - (3) (IR)
Linguistic Approaches to Literature
Investigates aspects of literary style in the light of modern linguistics.


SCAN 350 - (3) (IR)
Discusses Ibsen’s major plays, in English translation. No knowledge of a Scandinavian language is needed; does not fulfill the language requirement.

Yiddish in Translation

YDTR 346 - (3) (IR)
Topics in Yiddish Literature
Surveys important developments in Yiddish literature from the eighteenth century to the present. Special attention is paid to the innovations Yiddish writers produced in response to historical and cultural change.

YDTR 353 - (3) (IR)
Topics in Yiddish Culture
Studies major trends in Yiddish, East European, and North American Jewish culture, with special focus on the interaction between cultural forms and historical developments in Eastern Europe and North American. Topics vary.

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