Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
From Fiction to Film: the Filming of German Literature
Academic Year
Intended for use in future years
Eligibility for entry to Level 3 German

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
Lecture 7 x 1-hour lectures
Seminars / Tutorials 13 x 1-hour seminars
Workload Breakdown Lecture and seminar attendance - 20 hours; lecture, seminar and group presentation preparation (research and reading - 100 hours; exam preparation - 80 hours.


Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Exam 2 Hours   Written exam  (2 essay questions, equally weighted)  60%
Semester Assessment Continuous assessment  One group presentation (30 mins.) in seminar  40%
Supplementary Exam 2 Hours   written examination  100%

Learning Outcomes

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

1. Demonstrate a critical understanding of literary and cinematic texts from the late 18th century to the present;
2. Demonstrate awareness of political and social developments in 20th and 21st century Germany;
3. Demonstrate appropriate and effective use of key techniques of analysis of literature and film.
Students will:
4. Develop a more sophisticated understanding of written and spoken German;
5. Develop and demonstrate skills in oral presentation.


This module seeks to expand students' knowledge of literary narration (gained at levels 1 and 2), to introduce techniques of filmic narration and to encourage intertextual readings. In so doing this module also explores the history and society of 20th and 21st century Germany; more specifically its area of investigation focuses on the time from the Weimar Republic to the Present.

Brief description

In lectures students are introduced to the broad topics of this module and to analytical methodology. In small groups, they are required to study in depth one of the prescribed literary texts along with its cinematic transformation. They will then present the results of their analysis to the class during seminars, introducing the text and the film to all students.
The introduction of the text should include a brief summary of the story, an overview of the text's most important stylistic features, the circumstances of its origin and its relevance in its period. The small groups will also choose excerpts of the texts (e.g. of the length of one chapter, or a collection of particularly important paragraphs) for all students to read in preparation for the seminar. The analysis of the cinematic transformation should include a comparison of the contents/stories, along with an analysis of cinematic style and other important changes, e.g. alterations or modernization of themes and motifs.
All students are required to watch all prescribed films and to familiarise themselves with chosen excerpts of the literary texts.


Week 1: Introductory Lecture: The filming of literature
Seminar: How to read a film?
Week 2: Lecture: The Weimar period
Seminar: 'Professor Unrat' / 'Der blaue Engel' (H. Mann, 1905 / J. von Sternberg, 1930)
Week 3: Seminar: 'Berlin Alexanderplatz' (A. Doeblin, 1929 / P. Jutzi, 1931)
Lecture: National Socialism
Week 4: Seminar: 'Jud Suess' (W. Hauff, 1827 / V. Harlan, 1940)
Seminar: 'Die Feuerzangenbowle' (H. Spoerl and H. Reimann, 1933 / H. Weiss, 1944)
Week 5: Lecture: Antifacism
Seminar: 'Mephisto' (K. Mann, 1936 / I. Szabo, 1981)
Week 6: Lecture: Cultural Heritage in the GDR
Seminar : 'Der Untertan' (H. Mann, 1905 / W. Staudte, 1951)
Week 7: Seminar: 'Lotte in Weimar' (Th. Mann, 1939 / E. Guenther, 1975)
Lecture: `Literaturverfilmungswelle' in the FRG
Week 8: Seminar: 'Wilhelm Meisters Lehrjahre' / 'Falsche Bewegung' (J. W. v. Goethe 1795-96 / W. Wenders, 1975);
Seminar: 'Die verlorene Ehre der Katharina Blum' (H. Boell, 1974 / V. Schloendorf and M. v. Trotta, 1975)
Week 9: Lecture: Post-Unification Germany
Seminar: 'Sonnenalle' (Th. Brussig, 1999 / L. Haussmann, 1999)
Week 10:Seminar: Concluding discussion
Seminar: Revision class

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 developed in assessments and exam.
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 texts and wider cultural contexts.
Team work Debates and group presentations in seminars. (indirectly assessed)

Reading List

Recommended Text
Böll, H. Die verlorene Ehre der Katharina Blum Literary texts (one to be studied in each small group) Primo search Brussig, Th. Sonnenalle Literary texts (one to be studied in each small group) Primo search Döblin, A. Berlin Alexanderplatz Literary texts (one to be studied in each small group) Primo search Goethe, J.W. v Wilhelm Meisters Lehrjahre Literary texts (one to be studied in each small group) Primo search Hauff, W. Jud Süß Literary texts (one to be studied in each small group) Primo search Mann, H. Die Untertan Literary texts (one to be studied in each small group) Primo search Mann, H. Professor Unrat Literary texts (one to be studied in each small group) Primo search Mann, K. Mephisto Literary texts (one to be studied in each small group) Primo search Mann, Th. Lotte in Weimar Literary texts (one to be studied in each small group) Primo search Spoerl, H. and Reimann, H. Feuerzangenbowle Literary texts (one to be studied in each small group) Primo search
Recommended Consultation
Günther, E. Lotte in Weimar (Film) Primo search Harlan, V. Jud Süß (Film) Primo search Haußmann, L. Sonnenalle (Film) Primo search Schlöndorf, V. and Trotta, M. v. Die verlorene Ehre der Katharina Blum (Film) Primo search Staudte, W. Der Untertan (Film) Primo search Sternberg, J. von Der blaue Engel (Film) Primo search Szabó, I. Mephisto (Film) Primo search Weiss, H. Die Feuerzangenbowle (Film) Primo search Wenders, W. Falsche Bewegung (Film) Primo search
Consult For Futher Information
Bergfelder, Tim; Carter, Erica; Götürk, Deniz (eds.) (2002) The German Cinema Book London Primo search Berghahn, Daniela (2004) Hollywood behind the Wall: The Cinema of East Germany Manchester Primo search Elsaesser, Thomas (1989) New German Cinema: A History Hampshire and London Primo search Hake, Sabine (2002) German National Cinema London and New York Primo search Halle, Randal and McCarthy, Margaret (eds) (2003) Light Motives: German Popular Cinema in Perspective Detroit Primo search Monaco, James (2000) How to Read a Film (3rd. rev. and exp. ed) New York and Oxford Primo search Rentschler, Eric (1986) German Film & Literature: Adaptations and Transformations New York and London Primo search


This module is at CQFW Level 6