Approved by Faculty Senate.

Course Syllabus

College of Liberal Arts

Winona State University


Department: Foreign Languages Date of Revision: Spring 2001

Course Number: German 403 Course Title: 20th Century German Literature

Number of Credits: 3 Frequency of Offering: Every Other Year




Prerequisites(s): German 202 or equivalent

Basic Skills Math Grading: Grade Only

Instructor: Ronald Mazur Office: Somsen 319A Phone: 457-5165


Text: Deutsche Gedichte, (German Poems) by Echtermeyer/von Weise. 18th Printing, 1990

Aus Unserer Zeit. Dichter des zwanzigsten Jahrhunderts. (From Our Time: Poets of the Twentieth Century) 4th ed., lan C Loram and Leland R. Phelps, eds.

Praktische Anleitung zur Interpretation von Dichtung. (A Practical Introduction to the Interpretation of Imaginative Literature) Revised edition. Doris Fulda Merrifield.

University Studies Rationale: Critical Analysis Flag

  1. Recognize and evaluate appropriate evidence to advance a claim
    1. Students will learn how to perform a critical reading of a work of literature as a first step towards constructing its "meaning". This requires an exhaustive analysis of all linguistic and literary structures of the text with an eye to showing how the parts work together to create an informed reader’s experience of the whole.
    2. B. Apply critical analytical skills in making decisions or in advancing a theoretical position

    3. After completing their critical reading, students will choose a method of interpretation appropriate to the nature of the individual work. Using this as their basic approach, they will construct a coherent interpretation of the text which renders explicit the features that remain implicit in the understanding of the non-critical reader.

C. Evaluate alternative arguments, decision strategies, or theories within a systematic framework.

c. Having created a critical and methodologically sound interpretation of a specific work, students will be expected to demonstrate and defend its value when compared with interpretations prepared by established scholars working with similar and different interpretative methods.

Course Description:

1. Catalog Description


A survey of representative works by major authors in various genres from the turn of the 20th century to the present. Classwork will focus on the close reading and critical discussion of texts in their literary and cultural contexts.

2. Statement of major focus and objectives of the course


This course is one of a series of three one-semester courses introducing students to the critical reading of German literature across the centuries. Its major focus is on the literature of the twentieth century and the critical methods needed to understand it. Students will become familiar with representative works by major authors and learn to do critical analyses of them.

3. Basic Instructional Plan and Teaching Methods Used


Students will be expected to conduct written and oral analyses of selected works after seeing the methods of analysis and interpretation modeled by the instructor. Lectures on literary history and theory, classroom discussion of literary concepts and the oral recitation of works will be used.

4. Coursework and Requirements: Selected works drawn from the texts above.

Grading and Tests: midterm interpretive paper 25%

 final interpretive paper 25%

 midterm exam on anthology texts 25%

 final exam on anthology texts 25%


Attendance: obligatory for effective learning

Grading Scale:

A = 100 – 90

B = 89 – 80

C = 79 -- 70

D = 69 -- 60