Perspectives on History through German Literature
Industrialization, economic growth, and democracy came to Germany much later than to England and France, and the forms they took in Germany were filtered through the specific institutional character of Central Europe. German-speaking writers and intellectuals saw these trends from the perspective of indigenous intellectual traditions, and the resulting collisions of values and priorities largely shaped European and American social, political, and literary debates for much of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. This course explores these writings (in English translation) against the historical background of Central European society, focusing on particular works of Goethe, Hoffmann, Heine, Nietzsche, Kafka, Rilke, and Mann. Not offered 2022-23.