Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
Academic Year
Intended for use in future years
Eligibility for entry to Level 2 German

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
Lecture 4 x 1-hour lectures
Seminars / Tutorials 16 x 1-hour seminars
Workload Breakdown Lecture and seminar attendance - 20 hours; lecture and seminar preparation (research and reading) - 90 hours; essay research and writing - 45 hours; exam preparation - 45 hours


Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Exam 2 Hours   Written exam  (2 essay questions, equally weighted)  60%
Semester Assessment Continuous assessment  2 x 1,500-2,000-word essays  40%
Supplementary Exam 2 Hours   written examination  100%

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module students should be able to:

1. Demonstrate an evaluative understanding of the German language and a critical awareness of its literary registers.
2. Demonstrate an analytical engagement with German literary and cinematic texts.
3. Critically assess the role artists play in German literature and the formation of German intellectual identity.
4. Demonstrate a critical understanding of the historical and cultural contexts of the studied texts.
5. Demonstrate a cultural awareness of the topic's relevance to contemporary German culture.


The aim of this additional option module is to focus on four literary texts and two films that centre on artists of four different genres (writing, composing, painting, and acting). The arts, artists, and the artist's relationship with society have been a leading theme in German culture throughout the centuries. Artists play a key role in many German literary texts, and looking at the artistic characters enables the reader to find out more about key questions of German thought, society, history, and culture.

Brief description

In alternating lectures and seminars, the module looks at a music-lover, a writer, a painter and an actor and at their relationship to society, love, and politics. The seminars also investigate to what effect Luchino Visconti, in his film version of 'Der Tod in Venedig', exchanged Thomas Mann's writer for a composer, and why in Istvan Szabo's film 'Mephisto', the actor-protagonist is made a victim of National Socialism, while in Klaus Mann's original novel he is a perpetrator.


Week 1: Lecture: Music and Literature (1 hr)
Seminar: Artists and Philistines: E.T.A. Hoffmann, 'Don Juan' (novella, 1813) (1 hr)
Week 2: Seminars: Artists and Philistines: E.T.A. Hoffmann, 'Don Juan' (continued) (2 hrs)
Week 3: Lecture: The Act of Writing in German Literature (1 hr)
Seminar: The Writer in Ecstasy: Tomas Mann/Luchino Visconti, 'Der Tod in Venedig' (novella, 1912; film, 1970) (1 hr)
Week 4: Seminars: The Writer in Ecstasy: Tomas Mann/Luchino Visconti, 'Der Tod in Venedig' (continued) (2 hrs)
Week 5: Seminar: The Writer in Ecstasy: Tomas Mann/Luchino Visconti, 'Der Tod in Venedig' (continued) (1 hr)
Lecture: Literature and Visuality (1 hr)
Week 6: Seminars: The Painter as Visionary: Hermann Hesse, 'Klingsors letzter Sommer' (novella, 1919/20) (2 hrs)
Week 7: Seminars: The Painter as Visionary: Hermann Hesse, 'Klingsors letzter Sommer' (continued) (2 hrs)
Week 8: Lecture: The World as a Stage Play: The Metaphor of Theatre in German Literature (1 hr)
Seminar: The Actor and Politics: Klaus Mann/Istvan Szabo, 'Mephisto' (novel, 1936; film, 1981) (1 hr)
Week 9: Seminars: The Actor and Politics: Klaus Mann/Istvan Szabo, 'Mephisto' (continued) (2 hrs)
Week 10: Seminar: The Actor and Politics: Klaus Mann/Istvan Szabo, 'Mephisto' (continued) (1 hr)
Seminar: Comparison of the portrayal of different art forms in German literature and film (1 hr)

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Application of Number Possibly, evaluation of statistical data in the secondary reading.
Communication Oral communication developed in seminars; written communication.
Improving own Learning and Performance Students will be able to assess their own progress week by week through their increased understanding of the issues raised and the skills developed.
Information Technology Use of on-line journals and source collections; delivery of course materials and information via email and e-learning system.
Personal Development and Career planning Acquisition of transferable skills; in-depth acquaintance with literary/cultural studies as an academic subject.
Problem solving Selection of appropriate reading material; development of evaluative analysis and critical skills and formulation of detailed arguments; answering questions posed by written assessment; seminar work.
Research skills Preparation of written assessment; preparation for seminars; detailed analysis of literary texts and contexts.
Subject Specific Skills Acquisition of German linguistic skills and detailed analysis of literary and cinematic texts and wider cultural contexts.
Team work Debates and group presentations in seminars.

Reading List

Recommended Text
E.T.A. Hoffmann Don Juan (novella, 1813) , Primo search Hermann Hesse Klingsors letzter Sommer (novella, 1919/20) Primo search Klaus Mann Mephisto (novel, 1936) Primo search Thomas Mann Der Tod in Venedig (novella, 1912) Primo search
Recommended Consultation
István Szabó Mephisto (1981) (Film) Primo search Luchino Visconti Der Tod in Venedig (1970) (Film) Primo search
Consult For Futher Information
E.L. Marson (1979) The ascetic artist: prefigurations in Thomas Mann's 'Der Tod in Venedig'. Bern Primo search Hyun-Sook Lee (1985) Die Bedeutung von Zeichnen und Malerei für die Erzählkunst E.T.A. Hoffmanns. Frankfurt am Main Primo search Ilona Treitel (1996) The dangers of interpretation: art and artists in Henry James and Thomas Mann. New York Primo search K. J. Fickert (1952) The Problem of the artist and the philistine in the work of Hermann Hesse. New York Primo search Karina von Lindeiner (2006) Sammlung zur, heiligsten Aufgabe: politische Künstler und Intellektuelle in Klaus Manns Exilwerk Würzburg Primo search Roberta Seret (1992) Voyage into creativity: the modern Künstlerroman New York Primo search Sabrina Hausdörfer (1987) Rebellion im Kunstschein: die Funktion des fiktiven Künstlers in Roman und Kunsttheorie der deutschen Romantik Heidelberg Primo search T.J. Reed (1994) Death in Venice: making and unmaking a master New York Primo search Ursula R Mahlendorf (1985) The wellsprings of literary creation: an analysis of male and female "artist stories" from the German romantics to American writers of the present Columbia Primo search


This module is at CQFW Level 5