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PS "American Realism and Naturalism"


Dozent(in): Günter Beck, M.A.
Termin: Donnerstag 16-18 Uhr
Gebäude/Raum: 1003


Inhalt der Lehrveranstaltung:

Some of the greatest names in world literature are connected with the somewhat vague term "realism": Flaubert and Zola, Tolstoy and Turgenev, Dickens and Thackeray, Fontane and Keller. While realism in European literature roughly encompasses the period of time from the 1830s to the 1890s, its American counterpart lasted from the end of the Civil War to the turn of the century. William Dean Howells, one of the leading figures of American Realism, exuberantly described his motives for the turn to the realistic mode in fiction: "I saw a young, free, energetic society. I saw a society in which love … was innocent; … Here, I thought, are the materials for novels. Why should I go back to the people of bygone ages and of lands not my own?" Howells and the other realist writers attempted to give an objective and accurate representation of their social reality. The Reconstruction Era was characterized by America’s ongoing territorial expansion and the fast transcontinental settlement, a rapid growth in industrialism and urbanization, mass immigration from Europe and Asia, and a relative rise in middle-class affluence. But they were also marked by imperialistic endeavors at home and abroad, a reckless capitalism, growing slums, and social riots. These constant shifts in American politics, economy, society, and culture provided a fertile literary environment for writers; realism as "a strategy for imagining and managing the threats of social change" (Amy Kaplan) became the favored mode of expression.

In this seminar we will deal with some of the most important representatives of American realism and its closely related literary successor, "naturalism"; next to the novels and short fiction, we will also focus on the theoretical debates surrounding the terms "realism" and "naturalism".


Vorkenntnis für die Lehrveranstaltung:

Teilnahmevoraussetzung: Bestandener Einführungskurs

Anforderungen für den Scheinerwerb: Regelmäßige Anwesenheit, aktive Mitarbeit, Referat, Hausarbeit


Literatur zur Lehrveranstaltung:

Dies ist ein leseintensives Seminar. Alle Teilnehmer sollten sich bis zum Beginn des Kurses mit diesen grundlegenden Texten vertraut gemacht haben:

Kate Chopin, The Awakening
Stephen Crane, The Red Badge of Courage
William Dean Howells, The Rise of Silas Lapham
Henry James, "The Turn of the Screw", "The Beast in the Jungle"
Jack London, Wildfang
Mark Twain, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

Beachten Sie ab Anfang August auch den Aushang am Schwarzen Brett für eine vollständige Lektüreliste.


weitere Informationen zu der Lehrveranstaltung:

empfohlenes Studiensemester der Lehrveranstaltung: für alle Semester
Fachrichtung Lehrveranstaltung: Amerikanistik (Magister), Englisch (Lehramt)
Nummer der Lehrveranstaltung: n/b
Beginn der Lehrveranstaltung: 20. Oktober 2005
Dauer der Lehrveranstaltung: 2 SWS
Typ der Lehrveranstaltung: PS - Proseminar
Semester: WS 2005/06