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AAS2 Epochs and Phenomena in Anglophone Literatures and Cultures

Das Modul erarbeitet exemplarisch wesentliche Konstellationen der amerikanischen und britischen Literatur- und Kulturgeschichte sowie der Geschichte der neuen englischsprachigen Literaturen und Kulturen. Es betont gat­tungsspezifische und konzeptionsgeschichtliche Fragestellungen und betrachtet diese im engen Bezug auf den jeweiligen sozialhistorischen Kontext. Die Seminare des Moduls haben jeweils eine Epoche (etwa "Enlighten­ment", "American Renaissance", "Modernism", "Postcolonial Literature") zum Gegenstand (wobei der Epochen­begriff selbst kritisch reflektiert werden soll) oder beschäftigen sich mit einem spezifischen literatur- oder kultur­historischen Phänomen (etwa "captivity narrative", "Restoration drama“, "Victorian novel", "cultural hybridity"). Sämtliche Veranstaltungen arbeiten mit einer Kombination aus unterschiedlichen Medien (literarischen Texten, Malerei, Fotografie, Film etc.) und verlangen die Umsetzung der Analyseverfahren, die im Theorie- und Methodenmodul des 1. bzw. 2. Semesters vermittelt werden.

Bisherige Veranstaltungen in dem Modul haben sich z.B. mit folgenden Themen beschäftigt:

  • The Contemporary Novel – Trends and Developments
  • Looking at the "Long Century": Visual Culture, Literature, and the American Nation
  • Victorian Children's Fiction
  • Re-Reading the Brontës
  • Immigration and American Literature and Culture, 1890-1940
  • Transcultural Historical Novels since the 1990s

LP: 12

Prüfungsleistung: Hausarbeit (15 Seiten)

Experience Report AAS2 “Epochs and Phenomena in Anglophone Literatures and Cultures”

Seminars of this module investigate significant epochs and phenomena in anglophone literatures and cultures. They emphasize questions of genre and concepts and discuss them within the scope of their respective socio-historical contexts. Each seminar deals with a particular epoch and/or a specific literary or cultural phenomenon, explores its essential characteristics, traces its negotiations in a variety of media (literary texts, paintings, photography, film, etc.), and thereby encourages students to challenge exactly those notions of coherence which underlie the practice of categorization.

Accordingly, the seminar “The English Novel and Its Forerunners” (Summer 2012) related the rise of the novel to the emergence of the eighteenth-century middle class that demanded more ‘realistic’ literary representations of itself. Demarcating the novel from its precursors, i.e. the allegory, the epic, the romance, and the travelogue, we analyzed three classics of English literature (John Bunyan’s The Pilgrim’s Progress, Aphra Behn’s Oroonoko, and Daniel Defoe’s Moll Flanders) to learn that the early English novel is rather marked by a (contradictory) confluence of genres: The Pilgrim’s Progress conflates old religious ideals with new conceptions of mobility and self-searching, while Behn’s Oroonoko combines Enlightenment modes of thought with romantic and fantastic elements of the travel story. Defoe’s narrative of the prostitute and thief Moll Flanders constantly foregrounds the protagonist’s individual consciousness, but still belies middle-class ideals of business, honour, and marital love. The seminar thus resisted the common reading of the early English novel as a ‘container’ of middle-class values, showing instead that contemporary literary texts rather incorporate and negotiate ‘old’ and ‘new’ ways of story telling.

CP: 12

PL: academic paper (5,000-7,000 words)

SL: presentations, essays or similar tasks as determined by the lecturer

Former seminars included: American Modernism (Summer 2013), Noir: A Style in American Literature and Film (Summer 2013), Exploring the 19th Century through George Eliot’s Middlemarch (Winter 2012/13), Photorealisms: Entanglements of Image and Text (Summer 2012), The English Novel and Its Forerunners (Summer 2012)

Responsible for the module is Prof. Dr. Jana Gohrisch