German Expressionism 1910-1925 - GRMN5920

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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 mechanizing forces of modern industrial society, seeking nothing less than a 'renewal of mankind'. With compelling intensity, the Expressionists developed an immediately recognizable 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
Total Private Study Hours: 130
Total Study Hours: 150

Method of assessment

Main assessment methods:

Essay 1 (2,000 words) – 40%
Essay 2 (3,000 words) – 60%

Reassessment method:
100% Coursework (2,500 words)

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

The intended subject specific learning outcomes.
On successfully completing the module students will be able to:

1. Demonstrate knowledge and critical understanding of Expressionism and its major characteristics as they are manifested across literature and the visual arts;
2. 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;
3. Demonstrate cogent understanding of the cultural, aesthetic, national, and historical contexts of these works;
4. Carry out additional research and demonstrate critical thinking in both written assessments and seminar topics that shows an appreciation of the uncertainty, ambiguity and limits of knowledge;
5. Demonstrate comprehensive critical and analytical skills in their approach to key texts.

The intended generic learning outcomes.
On successfully completing the module students will be able to:

1. Demonstrate their written communication skills and the ability to devise and sustain complex arguments through two pieces of coursework;
2. Demonstrate critical reading skills, including the application of relevant theoretical frameworks (the aesthetics of Expressionism) to complex texts;
3. Demonstrate their ability to carry out independent research;
4. Demonstrate greater independence in applying the methods and techniques that they have learned, in particular by initiating and carrying out research projects of their own devising;
5. Demonstrate the ability to undertake independent learning (exercising initiative and personal responsibility).


  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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