Fall 2013

The Artist as Hero and Victim

Listed in: German, as GERM-356


Gertraud Gutzmann (Section 01)


Beginning in late eighteenth-century Germany and continuing to the present day, the course traces the development of an ideology: the belief that the artist is a "special case" in society, an individual with extraordinary gifts and extraordinary burdens, whose mission entails both privilege and suffering. Examples will range from the young Goethe's propagation of the idea of artist-as-unique-genius in the 1770s, through the nineteenth century's various images of the artist as saint/madman/seer/invalid/hero/charlatan, to the debates in Weimar- and Nazi-Germany over artistic "engagement" with radical politics, and on to contemporary debates over the role of the artist in a globalized world. We shall draw mainly on works—prose fiction, verse, philosophical essays, music, paintings, film—in the modern German tradition, but with important glimpses at trends in other European countries and the U.S.A. Artists and writers to be examined will include Goethe, E.T.A. Hoffman, Caspar David Friedrich, Robert Schumann, Richard Wagner, Nietzsche, Thomas Mann, Franz Kafka, Bertolt Brecht, Käthe Kollwitz, Anna Seghers, Leni Riefenstahl, and Christa Wolf. Conducted in German.

Requisite: German 310 or equivalent. Fall semester. Visiting Professor Gutzmann.


2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2013