Modern and contemporary Austrian literature and culture (2019/2020)

Course code
Name of lecturer
Isolde Schiffermuller
Isolde Schiffermuller
Number of ECTS credits allocated
Academic sector
Language of instruction
II semestre (Lingue e letterature straniere) dal Feb 17, 2020 al May 30, 2020.

Lesson timetable

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Learning outcomes

The course aims at presenting three representative nov-els from the early 20th century belonging to the literary canon of the Austrian and Middle-European culture: Franz Kafka’s „The Trial“ (Der Process), Joseph Roth’s „Job“ (Hiob) and Robert Musil’s „The Man without Quali-ties“ (Der Mann ohne Eigenschaften).

The various types of modern novel will be studied through the reading and commenting of the given texts, together with the narratologic and poetologic aspects typical of this genre.

At the end of the course students will have to prove:
- to have acquired a deep knowledge of the authors dealt with in class, of the proposed topics and of the literary works in programme
- a critical knowledge of the problems linked to the poet-ics of the 20th century novel
- to have developed specific competences in literary text analysis
- to have developed the ability to convey their knowledge through a suitable competence in German.


The course aims at presenting to the students a selection of texts (notations, poems and short stories) by two women writers, representative of post WW2 Austrian literature: Ingeborg Bachmann and Christine Lavant. The topics of the course, explored through the anlasys of the texts in programme, are: reflections on the sense of illness, the connection between poetic writing and suffering and the relationship between speakable and unspeakable, symptom and symbol.
The course consists of a single module (frontal and seminar lessons) and will be entirely held in German. After a brief introduction to the life and work of the two writers in programme, lessons will deal with the following topics through the reading and commenting of chosen texts:
- Post WW2 Austrian literature
- Women poetic writing in the 1900s
- The role of pain in poetic writing
- Poetry and the relationship between speakable and unspeakable.

Reference books
Author Title Publisher Year ISBN Note
David E. Wellbery Eine neue Geschichte der deutschen Literatur WBG 2013 978-3-650-40035-2

Assessment methods and criteria

The final exam will be oral and held in German. The oral exam will be on the whole programme and it will consist in a conversation aimed at testing:
- the depth and wideness of the acquired knowledge
- the ability to analyse and understand the literary texts in the programme
- the argumentative ability and the ability to link knowledges in a critical-literary reflection on the poetics of modern novels
- the ability to convey the acquired knowledges in German.
The final mark will be in 30ths.
ERASMUS students are required to contact the teacher at the beginning of the course to agree upon the exam modality.
During the course students will have to present short papers.