Modern and contemporary Austrian literature and culture (2018/2019)

Course code
Name of lecturers
Isolde Schiffermuller, Massimo Salgaro
Isolde Schiffermuller
Number of ECTS credits allocated
Academic sector
Language of instruction
II semestre dal Feb 18, 2019 al Jun 1, 2019.

Lesson timetable

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Learning outcomes

The early 20th century novel: Franz Kafka, Joseph Roth, Robert Musil

The course aims at presenting three representative novels 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 Qualities“ (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 poetics 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 is structured in a single module (lectures and seminars) and is entirely held in German.
After a short introduction on the life and works of the authors in programme, the course will focus on the following topics, which will be discussed through commenting on the novels and the reading of chosen passages:
• fragment-novel and parable (Kafka)
• novel and fairy-tale (Roth)
• essay-novel (Musil)
• the poetics of modern novels in Austrian literature.

Texts in German:
F. Kafka, Der Process (1914, published posthumously) (we suggest the critical edition: Kritische Ausgabe, Fisher, edited by M. Pasley)
J. Roth, Hiob (1930)
Juden auf der Wanderschaft (1937)
R. Musil, Der Mann ohne Eigenschaften, Erstes Buch (1930): Erster Teil - eine Art Einleitung (Kap. 1-19); Kap. 59-62. (we suggest to read the first book entirely).
Critical works:
A list of critical works will be provided at the beginning of the course.

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.