Life After Modernism? An Introduction to Postmodernist Literature in Germany - GE587

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Module delivery information

This module is not currently running in 2021 to 2022.


To understand contemporary German-language literature of the twenty-first century, one has to critically engage with and reflect on the social and historical context of aesthetic developments in the world of the distant and more recent past With a fast-changing European identity in the context of globalisation, political and social challenges are reflected in literary paradigm shifts and a reconfigured German literary field.
This module introduces a number of contemporary texts in German and provides methods for the analysis of these heterogeneous texts and new forms of authorial self-representation, based on key theoretical texts like Roland Barthes' "Death of the Author", "Text and Pleasure" or Michel Foucault's “What is an Author” to outline principle changes of literary production and authorship after 1965.
Narrative techniques like pastiche, intertextuality, the deconstruction of textual coherence and ironic representations of ideological concepts by means of combining contradictory genres will be analysed and put into the socio-political context of German-speaking countries also with reference to the global dimension of contemporary writing.


Contact hours

Total Contact Hours: 20


Also available under GE588 (Level 6)

Method of assessment

• Essay (Level 5: 2,500 words; Level 6: 3,000 words) – 60%
• Take-Home Assignment (Level 5: 1,000 words; Level 6: 1,500 words) – 20%
• Presentation (15 minutes) – 20%

Indicative reading

Indicative Reading:

Artmann, H.C. Schauerromane. Piper
Flašar, M.M. Ich nannte ihn Krawatte. Wagenbach
Gardi, T. Broken German. Droschl
Setz, C. Indigo. Suhrkamp (excerpts)
Süskind, P. Das Parfum. Diogenes (excerpts)

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

Learning outcomes

On successfully completing the module, Level 5 students will be able to:

Demonstrate a critical understanding of core parameters in German-language literature between 1965 and the present, e.g. the effect of the culture industry and entertainment on aesthetic production, the deconstruction of textual coherence, and these topics' relation to a socio-political context;
Demonstrate critical understanding of formal innovation in relation to a defined historical context;
Demonstrate the ability to analyse key texts (both primary and secondary) critically and to assess different genres of contemporary writing in German;
Demonstrate close reading and analytical skills, and reflect critically on the form and nature of literary texts;
Demonstrate a systematic understanding of the relationship between major contemporary German and Austrian authors and cultural-historical as well as social-historical conditions.


  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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