German 231


In both Elementary German and Intermediate German, the primary thematic focus is on what might be termed the quotidian: the everyday, the commonplace, the practical.

In Advanced German Writing, the thematic focus will be on literature and the other arts. More specifically, in this course students will develop the expertise necessary to allow them to write and speak intelligently about literature, music, film, and the visual arts.

To begin, students must master basic vocabulary particular to the aforementioned systems of signs; that is, students must become familiar with the formal elements associated with each artistic medium. For example, to write about a work of literature, students must be able to determine what type of work it is: prose, drama, or poem (or some combination thereof). If a poem, what type: sonnet, ode, elegy, ballad, or other? If an ode, what specific kind? What meter? What rhyme scheme? Which rhetorical devices are used? Such questions are often difficult enough to answer in English without adequate training. To do so in German is infinitely more difficult for non-native speakers. Similarly, to write about a film, students will find it helpful to be able to use terminology related to such topics as editing and mise en scène; and yet, most students have never been exposed to a systematic approach to film-even in English. Furthermore students of German literature are often called upon to be knowledgeable about parallel developments in the arenas of art and music. For example, when considering German literature of the Romantic period it is often extremely illuminating to delve, if only superficially, into the art and music of the period. And yet, this cannot be done if students are not familiar with the "languages" associated with art and music.

After mastering basic technical terminology associated with the formal criteria particular to each artistic medium, students will then focus on vocabulary and expressions that will allow them to write and speak about the histories of German literature, music, film, and art. For each medium individual movements will be used as case studies. Major figures and works will be discussed in literary, music, film, or art historical context, more to develop a general working vocabulary than to master specific factual data particular to any one movement.

Once students have become more familiar with basic characteristics of a specific artistic movement, major figures and representative works will be highlighted and analyzed. At this point in each unit, students will be preparing to deliver oral reports (biographies/analyses of works), to receive useful feedback from the instructor, and then to resubmit the reports in the form of written essays.

And finally, students will explore, online, practical matters related to each medium. For example, students might be asked to determine which films are being screened at the moment in Berlin, what plays are being staged in Hamburg, whether one can one attend an exhibition of German Expressionism in Schleswig, what might be a good online source for German CDs, and which books are being read by the general public.

Thus during this fall semester, students will be asked to develop the ability to write about and discuss in German four artistic media: literature, music, film, and the visual arts.


Mo. 31. Aug.



Mi. 2. Sept. - Fr. 9. Okt.

(14 Unterrichtsstunden)






Einführung in die Poetik


Geschichte der neueren deutschen Literatur

Die Klassik / Die Romantik


Friedrich Schiller: "Die Götter Griechenlands"

Die Gebrüder Grimm: Kinder- und Hausmärchen

Literatur heute

Buchhandlungen, Theater, Buchrezensionen, usw.


Mi. 12. Okt. - Fr. 30. Okt.

(8 Stunden)


Einführung in die Musiklehre / Musikalische Fachausdrücke

Die Elemente der Musik

Die Instrumente in der Musik

Musikalische Strukturen

Geschichte der deutschen Musik

Die Romantik / Die Moderne (Das Zwölfton-System)


Franz Schubert: "Erlkönig" / "Gretchen am Spinnrade"

Arnold Schönberg: Pierrot lunaire

Zum weiteren Hören

Konzert, Club, CD, usw.


Mo. 2. Nov. - Mi. 25. Nov.

(11 Stunden)


Einführung in die Filmanalyse / Fachbegriffe

Zur Analyse des Visuellen (Bildtechnik)

Geschichte der deutschen Filmindustrie

Der expressionistische Stummfilm

Oeuvre (biographische Zusammenhänge) / Genre (stoffliche / gestalterische Zusammenhänge)

Fritz Lang

Horror / Science Fiction


Lang: Metropolis

Murnau: Nosferatu

Film in einer neuen Medienwelt

Kino, Video, Filmarchive, usw.


Mo. 30. Nov. - Mi. 9. Dez.

(5 Stunden)


Begegnung mit Kunstwerken / Grundfragen der Bildkomposition





Geschichte der deutschen Kunst

Der Expressionismus


C.D. Friedrich: Mönch am Meer

Kandinsky: Improvisation 26

Barlach: Das Magdeburger Ehrenmal

Schmidt-Rottluff: Selbstbildnis

Kunst im Alltag

Museen, Galerien, Kunst im öffentlichen Raum, usw.



I will grade essays and oral reports holistically, and the criteria I will use have been developed by teams of language teachers to guide them in their grading of the written and the oral components of the College Board's Advanced Placement Examination in German. I have had three years of experience applying these standards both at UPS and elsewhere. I will discuss these criteria with you at length on the first day of the course.



1/4 -- Referate:

(4) Biographie einer Hauptfigur (5 Min.)

(4) Analyse eines Werkes (5 Min.)

1/4 -- Klausuren:

(4) Vokabular-intensiv

1/2 -- Schriftliche Arbeiten:

(4) Biographie und Analyse eines Werkes (nach jedem Referat)



Almost every topic listed below will have been covered in German 101/102 and again in German 201/202, and so it makes little sense to devote classtime in German 231 to covering these topics yet again. I list below topics in roughly decreasing order of importance; that is, when I look at your essays and listen to your oral reports I am most pleased when you demonstrate mastery of "Word Order," "Cases and Declension," and "Adjective Endings," and I am less concerned about your ability to use with total accuracy "Future Perfect Tense" and "Reflexive Verbs." In short, if you pay careful attention to what I would term basic grammar, I will shower you with praise and we can focus on literature and the other arts. Conversely, if you consistently ignore the conventions of word order, guess at the genders and plurals of nouns, butcher your adjective endings, disregard case after prepositions, I will sigh despairingly and compel you to complete the onerous exercises you find in the Wells-textbook and workbook [flashback to 101 and 201]. So use the Wells-textbook to guide you in your work; and, of course, if you need help in any specific area, I would be most happy to work with you individually.

Larry D. Wells: Handbuch zur deutschen Grammatik: wiederholen und anwenden

Lexington, Massachusetts / Toronto: D.C. Heath, 1993.

Jamie Rankin / E. Pauline Hubbell: Handbuch zur deutschen Grammatik: Arbeitsheft

[Aufgaben zur Kommunikation/Aufgaben zur Grammatik]

Appendix 1: Capitalization and Punctuation

Chapter 21: Numerals

Chapter 22: Seasons, Dates, and Time Expressions

Chapter 1: Word Order

Chapter 25: Conjunctions

Chapter 10: Cases and Declensions

Chapter 11: Noun Genders, Noun Plurals, Weak Nouns

Chapter 2: Present Tense

Chapter 6: Simple Past Tense / Past Perfect Tense

Chapter 16: Prepositions

Chapter 18: Adjective Endings

Chapter 12: Articles & Possessive Adjectives/Articles used as Pronouns

Chapter 13: Personal, Indefinite, and Demonstrative Pronouns

Chapter 26: Relative Pronouns

Chapter 19: Adjective Nouns / Participial Modifiers

Chapter 5: Present Perfect Tense

Chapter 7: Future Tense / Future Perfect Tense

Chapter 8: Modal Verbs

Chapter 9: Infinitives

Chapter 14: Questions and Interrogatives

Chapter 17: Da-Compounds / Uses of "es"

Chapter 4: Negation

Chapter 27: Conditional Subjunctive (Subjunctive II)

Chapter 28: Indirect Discourse Subjunctive (Subjunctive I)

Chapter 29: Passive Voice

Chapter 30: Verb Prefixes

Appendix 4: Verbs with Prepositions

Chapter 15: Reflexive Pronouns and Verbs

Chapter 23: Adverbs / hin- und her-