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Last modified: 22 May 2019 17:07

Course Overview

“Everyone who lived in high-up, magical places must feel the same way. You come down into the world and you mingle, but all the while there's something calling you back.” (A. Hasan) The pain of feeling different from others is one of the most enduring themes in literature. For some this is enriching, others are destroyed by it. 

Course Details

Study Type Undergraduate Level 3
Session Second Sub Session Credit Points 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits)
Campus None. Sustained Study No
  • Dr Gundula-Maria Sharman

Qualification Prerequisites

  • Programme Level 3

What courses & programmes must have been taken before this course?

  • Either European Studies (EU) (Studied) or German (GM) (Studied)
  • Any Undergraduate Programme (Studied)

What other courses must be taken with this course?


Are there a limited number of places available?


Course Description

The course will analyse the relationship between and the impact of Goethe's Werther and Buechner's Lenz on their respective contemporary societies. Both protagonists suffer from a conflict between the unfolding of the individual on the one hand, and the expectations of society on the other, and both gained iconic status in German literature. The course will then move on to examine the ways in which these texts continued to be relevant to readers in the 20th century. Both text were repeatedly reworked by modern authors particularly in East Germany, most prominently by Ulrich Plenzdorf and Volker Braun. Students will examine the reasons for the lasting appeal of the original texts and gain an understanding of the various ways the reworkings functioned in face of communist censorship.

Further Information & Notes

The course may not be included as part of a graduating curriculum with GM 3095 / GM 4095 / GM 4595 

Contact Teaching Time

Information on contact teaching time is available from the course guide.

Teaching Breakdown

More Information about Week Numbers

Details, including assessments, may be subject to change until 31 August 2023 for 1st half-session courses and 22 December 2023 for 2nd half-session courses.

Summative Assessments

1st Attempt: One in-class presentation (30%) and one 2-hour exam 70%

Resit: one 2-hour written exam (100%)

Formative Assessment

Discussion in class.


All essays and presentations are discussed individually within no more than 2 weeks of submission. All assignments receive CGS marks, which the Course Guide links to specific marking criteria, and written or verbal feedback in the form of tutors' comments is also given. Additional informal feedback on performance and tutorial participation is offered in tutorials. Tutors have office hours at which further feedback may be sought.

Course Learning Outcomes


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