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.
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 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)
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.
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