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Einrichtungen >> Fakultät Geistes- und Kulturwissenschaften >> Institut für Anglistik und Amerikanistik >> Lehrstuhl für Britische Kultur >>

  Human, Non-human, Post-human: Redrawing the boundaries in early twentieth-century poetry

Dr. Robert Craig

2 SWS, Aufbaumodul. An-/Abmeldung über FlexNow: 03.02.2020 (10:00 Uhr) bis 30.04.2020 (23:59 Uhr); An-/Abmeldung zur Prüfung über FlexNow: 25.06.2020 (10:00 Uhr) bis 06.07.2020 (23:59 Uhr).
Zeit und Ort: Di 16:15 - 17:45, LU19/00.11

Voraussetzungen / Organisatorisches
WICHTIGE INFORMATION: https://www.uni-bamberg.de/anglistik/news/artikel/anmeldungen-zu-lehrveranstaltungen-des-instituts-fuer-anglistik-amerikanistik-im-ss-2020/

Teilnahmevoraussetzungen/Conditions of participation

B.A. Anglistik/Amerikanistik: Abgeschlossenes Basismodul Britische und Amerikanische Kulturwissenschaft
Lehrämter (neu): GYM Abgeschlossenes Basismodul Landeskunde/Kulturwissenschaft

Modulzugehörigkeit/Module applicability

B.A. Anglistik/Amerikanistik: Aufbaumodul Britische und Amerikanische Kultur: Seminar Britische Kultur (6 ECTS)
B.A. Anglistik/Amerikanistik: Ergänzungsmodul (ab WS 2014/15; je nach Belegung des Faches 6, 4 oder 3 ECTS)
Lehrämter (neu): GYM Aufbaumodul; GYM Wahlpflichtmodul (Kombination mit Russisch) Kulturwissenschaft: Seminar Britische Kultur (5 ECTS)
Erasmus and other visiting students: Seminar (6 ECTS)

The module will be examined by a short (20-minute) presentation, and a term paper (word limit: 4,000 words). Further information on the term paper can be obtained from this address: http://www.uni-bamberg.de/britcult/leistungen/studium/.

“Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold; mere anarchy is loosed upon the world.” These words, from his poem ‘The Second Coming’, were written by W. B. Yeats in 1919 in reflection on a ravaged post-war Europe; but they also testified to a broader sense of crisis in societies that seemed to have lost many of their traditional contours. This seminar traces aspects of that crisis through a selection of English and German poetry of the early twentieth century. Specifically, we will be focusing on the very idea of ‘the human being’ as it developed in this period: its identity, its possible future, and its distinction (or not) from the material and animal world.

Literary responses to these questions were often characterized by a sense of fragmentation and alienation. That fragmentation came starkly to the fore in poetry of the Expressionist and modernist traditions; but it was also poetry which strove to find a way of ‘redeeming’ the fragments and restoring a sense of meaning – however fragile – to human existence. After a selection of short theoretical extracts by Friedrich Nietzsche and Theodor W. Adorno, we will read a selection of poems by the medical doctor and master of German Expressionism, Gottfried Benn: such cycles as ‘Morgue’ (1912) and ‘Alaska’ (1913) portray the mortality and absurdity of human existence, while hinting at the possibility of its redemption. This sense of mortality took on horrific new dimensions in the form of the trench warfare of World War I. In that light, we turn to a selection of the most celebrated English war poems, by the solider-poets Siegfried Sassoon and Wilfred Owen: pieces which, in their haunting and horrific imagery, both condemn the slaughter and humanize those caught up in it. Finally, we will discuss a selection from Rainer Maria Rilke’s Duineser Elegien (1926): a cycle of elegies which both mourns what has been lost or broken in modernity, and tries to find a way of restoring it.

We shall discuss the English-language works in English, and the German-language works in German.

Empfohlene Literatur
I. Primärliteratur:

Please buy the books in the editions stated.

Tim Kendell, Poetry of the First World War: An Anthology (Oxford: Oxford World’s Classics, 2014).

Rainer Maria Rilke, Duineser Elegien / Die Sonette an Orpheus (Frankfurt a.M.: Insel, 1974).

A selection of Gottfried Benn’s poems, along with additional poems by Rilke, and accompanying theoretical material, will be made available on the Virtual Campus.

II. Sekundärliteratur:

Santanu Das (Hg.), The Cambridge Companion to the Poetry of the First World War (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2013).

Manfred Engel (Hg.), Rilke Handbuch: Leben – Werk – Wirkung (Stuttgart: Metzler, 2013).

Christian Hanna (Hg.), Benn Handbuch: Leben – Werk – Wirkung (Stuttgart: Metzler, 2016).

John H. Johnston, English Poetry of the First World War (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2016).

A variety of further texts will be made available on the Virtual Campus, as well as in the seminar Semesterapparat. Texts will be uploaded in the course of the semester, shortly before the relevant seminar session is due to take place. Please note that you alone are responsible for knowing and keeping track of information made available to you in printed documents and on the Virtual Campus. Needless to say that your active and regular participation is expected. Absences will be excused when they result from circumstances beyond students’ control (illness, family emergency, religious holiday).

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