Classicism, Romanticism, Realism


This course studies classical German literature – broadly defined as the period from 1750 to 1900. It will be divided into three parts (1) the classical period, (2) Romanticism, (3) Realism.

The first part of the course will be an introduction to the classical period, with attention to the varied forms of literature, philosophy, and culture. Key authors of the “Weimarer Klassik” such as Goethe and Schiller will be studied in detail.

The second part will investigate the writings of the most important romanticists as Hölderlin, Novalis and Friedrich von Schlegel, and analyse their reaction to the literature of classicism.

The third part of the course examines works by some of the major German realists, including Storm and Fontane.

Course aims and objectives:

  • Develop students’ skills in reading, interpreting and critically assessing German literary texts
  • Introduce students to some leading writers of classical German literature
  • Introduce students to crucial theoretical developments in German literary and philosophical discourses
  • Offer an overview of political and cultural transitions which influenced German writers

Learning Outcomes

Students will be able to:

  • Display knowledge and understanding of the core ideas of leading German writers of each period in a European context
  • Describe and compare the literary concepts presented to them in the course
  • Present and defend their own view on the topics covered
  • Recognise problems and concerns of society of each period


Coursework + exam

Availability 2024

Not taught in 2024


Lecturer(s) Dr Stephan Resch


Readings will be available through CANVAS/Talis via Modules.


Coursework + exam


GERMAN 310: 15 points


45 points above Stage I in German