GR 265 CA II "Postwar Germany"

HI CW TTh 2-3:20

KAJ HC 205; Ext. 3496

MT 9-10; WF 11-12

and by appointment

Course Objectives and Procedures

In the course we examine literary depictions of Germany's attempts to come to terms with the crimes committed against compatriots and humanity during the Third Reich. On the basis of three major postwar novels, two of which were written by Nobel Prize winners for Literature, the course will examine the roots and spread of [for lack of a better term] evil by the Nazi ideology, understood as a diabolic variant of the ism-religions of modern times. As such, it will examine Nazism as part of the "modern" and the forms that it took in German life and culture. As tangible outcomes of the course, we will have read, comprehended, assessed and critically discussed a sizeable body of literary writings and produced three papers that will have met the requirements of college level work.

Our Texts

Siegfried Lenz, The German Lesson

Günter Grass, The Tin Drum

Heinrich Böll, Group Portrait with Lady


Regular class attendance

Active class participation

Keeping abreast with the reading

Three papers (6-8 pages each); rewrites an option

Drop Policy

The new College policy applies concerning dropping a course.

Grading Policy

See Catalogue 2001-2002 pp. 48-49.

Last but in no way least: Please, be prepared for some challenging reading. To read the novels will take time. Give yourself the time. Take careful and copious notes. They will come in handy when the time rolls around for the three papers that you will be asked to write. Be also prepared for the unusual. The novels will take you back into times that are already "history" to you, albeit recent history. Don't fall into the trap of pre-judging or rejecting the works simply because they strike you as "strange," "weird," or "confusing." Always be mindful that the authors give an accurate account - granted, in fictional form-- of what it was like to live through a period spanning seven decades of 20th century German history. Twelve of those years, from 1933 to1945, represent the "darkest" years in all of German history in the mind of many.