German Literature for Young Readers (Jugendliteratur)
As the huge success of the Harry Potter series demonstrates, literature for “young readers” can captivate people of all ages. In this course we’ll consider some works intended specifically for children, and others that appeal more generally to the young (at heart). These texts — and the vivid illustrations that accompany some of them — will enable us to see how notions of childhood have changed since the early 19th century. We’ll read some gruesome tales designed to instill good habits and moral behavior (Grimms’ Märchen, H. Hoffmann’s Der Struwwelpeter), as well as stories that show us the world through childrens’ eyes and thereby critque adult society (W. Busch, Max und Moritz, E. Kästner, Emil und die Detektive, M. Ende, Momo). For a 21st-century look at Jugendliteratur, we’ll read Christmas stories by Karen Duve (Weihnachten mit Thomas Müller and Thomas Müller und der Zirkusbär). Students will be asked to write several essays, but creative assignments will be encouraged as well. There will be a midterm and a final exam.