Heinrich von Kleist, “The Earthquake in Chile” (1807)
Edition used: Five Great German Short Stories, Dover
Ludwig Tieck, “Fair-Haired Eckbert” (1797)
Edition used: German Literary Fairy Tales, Continuum.
Brothers Grimm, “Little Snow-White” (1812)
Edition used: The Complete Grimm’s Fairy Tales, Pantheon
In this lecture, Jason Lieblang discusses German Romanticism, the form of the German Novelle (short story) from the 18th and 19th centuries, German idealism, and the three stories noted above.
- Freud argues in “The Uncanny” that fairy tales aren’t uncanny. Explain why this is the case, for Freud, and argue for whether or not you think he’s right by discussing at least one of the fairy tales assigned for this week. Be sure to discuss his definition of the uncanny and say whether it applies to the fairy tale(s) you choose. You may, if you wish, compare/contrast the fairy tale with Hoffmann’s “The Sandman” in your discussion of whether or not the fairy tale is uncanny.
- Develop a Freudian reading of either “Little Snow-white” or “Fair-haired Eckbert.” You may choose to focus on the role that elements such as narcissism, family dynamics or the return of the repressed play in either tale.
- Discuss the representation of gender and/or relationships between men and women in Hoffmann’s “The Sandman” and one other text assigned for this week. Do you find anything problematic in this representation?
- The Novelle has proven a difficult genre to define – but not for a lack of theorizing. Discuss one or more of the stories you read for this week in terms of the different distinguishing features of the Novelle to which you’ve been introduced.
- Compare the representation of childhood in Blake and any of the stories assigned for this week.
- What do the German Romantic writers you’ve read for this week think about our access to truth? Focus your argument on one or two stories. You may wish to discuss the role German idealism played in guiding their understanding of human knowledge.
- Develop an argument about what “The Earthquake in Chile” or “Fair-Haired Eckbert” say about human nature. You may want to discuss this in the context of Hobbes’ and/or Rousseau’s arguments.
- Develop an argument regarding how the narrative voice shapes the story in two of the following: Hoffmann’s “The Sandman,” Kleist’s “The Earthquake in Chile,” or Tieck’s “Fair-Haired Eckbert.”