The Lyric Imagination - GRMN5720

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Module delivery information

This module is not currently running in 2024 to 2025.


This module will explore the development of German-language poetry in the 20th century. The methodology will comprise three main strands: the thematic, the stylistic and the politico-historical. Individual poets will be read in terms of what they write, how they write and why they write (ie. the context of historical and political events). The module will introduce students to a range of poetic styles and movements: starting with the fin-de-siècle and Impressionist poetry, the module will move through Expressionism, war poetry, anti-war poetry, holocaust poetry, political poetry of East and West Germany, the poetry of exile and return and contemporary post-Wende poetry, to name but a few of the periods covered.


Contact hours

Total Contact Hours: 20


Also available at Level 5 (GRMN5710)

Method of assessment

Commentary (2,000 words) – 45%
Essay (2,000 words) – 45%
Presentation (10 minutes) – 10%

Indicative reading

Indicative Reading List

Bachmann, I. (2001). Sämtliche Gedichte, Munich: Piper.
Brecht, B. (1960-61). Gedichte, Frankfurt a. M.: Suhrkamp.
Celan, P. (1975). Gedichte in zwei Bänden, Frankfurt a. M.: Suhrkamp.
Hofmannsthal, H. (1984). Sämtliche Werke, volume 1: Gedichte 1, volume 2: Gedichte 2, Frankfurt a. M.: Fischer.
Rilke, R. M. (2006). Die Gedichte, Munich: Insel.
Trakl, G. (2001). Fünfzig Gedichte, Stuttgart: Reclam.

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

Learning outcomes

On successfully completing the module Level 6 students will be able to:

Demonstrate an understanding of 20th century German-language poetry and be able to compare different poems;
Demonstrate a systematic understanding of a range of different poetic genres;
Demonstrate the skills needed for the close analysis of poetry and deploy them accurately;
Read poetry both thematically and stylistically, and place it systematically in its political and historical context.


  1. ECTS credits are recognised throughout the EU and allow you to transfer credit easily from one university to another.
  2. The named convenor is the convenor for the current academic session.
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