German 325

Modern German Jewish Writers: The Discontents of Emancipation

Full course for one semester. This course explores a paradigmatic example of a minority culture. We will examine the entwinement of political emancipation and cultural assimilation of the Jews in Germany.  The course covers the period from the Enlightenment to the present, with a special emphasis on the first part of the 20th century. At this time German Jewish writers and thinkers became increasingly aware of their tenuous position and devised new ways of realizing Jewish particularity within modern, secular German culture. We will explore themes such as gender and assimilation, racial antisemitism, cultural Zionism, the writing of exile, and the aestheticization and politicization of Jewish traditions.  The course concludes with a brief look at the reinterpretation of the historical "German-Jewish symbiosis” after the Holocaust. Readings from Lessing, Heine, Schnitzler, Kafka, Döblin, Lasker-Schüler, Celan, Mendelssohn, Buber, Freud, Scholem, Benjamin. Conducted in English. Students may arrange with the instructor to take the class for German credit. Conference. Cross-listed as Literature 325.

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