Images of Germany, 1945-1990 - GE312

Location Term Level Credits (ECTS) Current Convenor 2018-19 2019-20
Canterbury Spring
View Timetable
4 15 (7.5)







German cultural production since 1945 had been largely dominated by ideologies and politics, by the forced forty-year division into two republics in opposite camps in the Cold War, and by the legacy of National Socialism, which factors all contributed to the eruption of student unrest in the 1960s. The material studied on the module covers the problems of returning soldiers in 1945 and the hardships endured by the civilian population; the trauma of the Holocaust; the pioneering idealism in the foundational phase in the German Democratic Republic and a satirical take on that; the pain caused to ordinary individuals by the erection of the Berlin Wall; the significance of the Vietnam War to the Left in the 1960s and the turn to violence in the pursuit of political goals in the following decade; and the study of these materials will allow students to attain a well-grounded cultural and historical understanding of the period from 1945 to the present.


This module appears in:

Contact hours

Two-hour lecture/seminar per week, for ten weeks

Method of assessment

100% Coursework

Preliminary reading

Indicative Reading:

Bernhard, Thomas, (1996) Heldenplatz, Verlag Moritz Diesterweg, Frankfurt am Main
Bernhard, Thomas, (2010) Heldenplatz; English translation by Andrea Tierney & Meredith Oakes, Oberon, London
Grass, Günter, (2003) Die Plebejer proben den Aufstand: ein deutsches Trauerspiel, Steidl Verlag, Go¨ttingen
[Die Plebejer proben den Aufstand: English] The plebeians rehearse the uprising: a German tragedy; translated by R Manheim (1972). Penguin, London
Handke, Peter, (1968) Kaspar, Suhrkamp, Frankfurt am Main
Plays. 1, Offending the audience; Self-accusation; Kaspar; My Foot My Tutor; The Ride Across Lake Constance; They are dying Out. (1997) Methuen, London
Maron, Monika, (2001) Pawels Briefe, Fischer Taschenbuch Verlag GmbH
Maron, Monika, (2002) Pavel's Letters (Panther) Translated by Brigitte Goldstein, Random House, New York and London

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

See the library reading list for this module (Medway)

Learning outcomes

On successfully completing the module students will be able to:

8.1 Demonstrate an appreciation of a range of cultural products originating in Germany and Austria between 1945 and 1990 (plays, novels, poems, political documents and film);
8.2 Demonstrate analytical skills for the study of literary texts in a variety of genres, and for linking cultural products to their social, historical and political contexts;
8.3 Demonstrate skills relating to close reading and evaluation of literary texts and of images;
8.4 Plan and write an essay analysing cultural, historical and political questions as they are articulated in literary and cultural artefacts;
8.5 Demonstrate understanding of cultural production and its contexts.

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