German Expressionism 1910-1925 - GRMN5910

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Module delivery information

This module is not currently running in 2024 to 2025.


This module explores one of the major contributions of Germanic culture to modernism. Straddling the period immediately before, during, and after the First World War, Expressionism emerged as a reaction against the mechanising forces of modern industrial society, seeking nothing less than a 'renewal of mankind'. With compelling intensity, the Expressionists developed an immediately recognisable style that found an audience across Europe. This module looks at works from a range of genres: from poetry to drama, from prose (both fiction and manifestos) to painting, Expressionism was a key strand of international modernism across the Arts, embracing figures as diverse as Georg Kaiser, Kurt Pinthus, Else Lasker-Schüler, Franz Kafka, and Oskar Kokoschka. A century later, it remains one of the most important – and most idiosyncratically Germanic – of all modern artistic movements.


Contact hours

Total Contact Hours: 20


Also available at Level 6 (GRMN5920)

Method of assessment

Essay 1 (2,000 words) – 50%
Essay 2 (2,000 words) – 50%

Indicative reading

Indicative Reading List:

Kafka, F., Short stories including ‚Die Verwandlung', ‚Das Urteil', ‚Ein Landarzt' (any edition)
Kaiser, G. Die Bürger von Calais (any edition)
Toller, E. Masse-Mensch (Reclam: Stuttgart, 2010)

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

Learning outcomes

On successfully completing the module students will be able to:

Demonstrate knowledge and critical understanding of Expressionism and its major characteristics as they are manifested across literature and the visual arts;
Demonstrate knowledge of a number of representative Expressionist texts in close detail, as well as some of the main manifestos and critical statements regarding Expressionism;
Demonstrate cogent understanding of the cultural, aesthetic, national, and historical contexts of these works;
Exhibit the analytical skills required to assess, evaluate and explain the distinctive literary features of Expressionism;
Analyse questions pertaining to form, style and structure explored by the relevant texts;
Evaluate how the salient characteristics of Expressionism vary – whilst exhibiting 'family resemblances' – across the genres of literature and painting.


  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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