Writing after Auschwitz: Nazism and the Holocaust in Post-War German Literature

$222 Limited inc GST / $200
Writing after Auschwitz: Nazism and the Holocaust in Post-War German Literature

<p>After the Second World War, German literature has constantly been affected by its controversial past. The impact of the Nazi regime, and of the Holocaust, and their ethical, political and aesthetic

...

If there isn't a class to suit you, please the waiting list.

After the Second World War, German literature has constantly been affected by its controversial past. The impact of the Nazi regime, and of the Holocaust, and their ethical, political and aesthetic implications, have concerned not only the writers of the first generation, who directly experienced those years, but also the authors of the following generations, who have refused any form of escapism in order to stand testimony to a past that still persists.


SUGGESTED READING
The course will analyse extracts from the novels listed below. Students are not expected to read them all. Read what you prefer.

  • Günter Grass, The Tin Drum (Die Blechtrommel)
  • Günter Grass, Peeling the Onion (Beim Häuten der Zwiebel)
  • Günter Grass, Crabwalk (Im Krebsgang)
  • Günter Grass, My Century (Mein Jahrhundert)
  • Christa Wolf, Patterns of Childhood (Kindheitsmuster)
  • Bernhard Schlink, The Reader (Der Vorleser)
  • Uwe Timm, The Invention of Curried Sausage (Die Entdeckung der Currywurst)
  • Uwe Timm, In my Brother’s Shadow (Am Beispiel meines Bruders)
  • Uwe Timm, Ikarien (Not translated in English)
  • Uwe Timm, Halbschatten (Not translated in English)
  • Claude Lanzmann, Shoah (Documentary)


COURSE OUTLINE
This course deals with the following inter-related controversial issues:

  • The question of collective guilt and individual responsibility for the Nazi crimes against humankind;
  • The Vergangenheitsbewältigung (“working through the past”), which has often resulted in an oblivion process and in remaining traces of the Nazi ideology and which has had different forms in West and East Germany;
  • The possibilities of writing after and about Auschwitz and the reflection on a language that has been corrupted by Nazism;
  • The representation of German generational conflicts, of German suffering and of a devastated Germany, which have remained a taboo for a long time;
  • The investigation into the Nazi ideology and the persecutors' perspective.

The discussion of these topics will be conducted through the analysis of texts by some of the most important German authors of post-war literature (especially Paul Celan, Günter Grass, Christa Wolf, Bernhard Schlink, Uwe Timm), who have taken active part in the debate around the cultural impact of Nazism and Holocaust, and through the viewing of some clips from Claude Lanzmann’s Shoah.


PLANNED LEARNING OUTCOMES
By the end of this course, students should be able to:

  1. Attain an overview of the central issues and debates around Nazism/Holocaust and literature and discuss them.
  2. Be familiar with some of the most important authors who have dealt with these issues.
  3. Analyse texts and movie clips in this regard.
  4. Recognise the literary strategies used by each writer to address the controversial German history and the profound complexity around this topic.