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Semester 1

The Nibelungenlied and its reception in modern Germany (Ordinary) (ELCG09002)


European Languages and Cultures - German





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In order to be eligible to take SCQF Level 9 Options, Visiting Students should have the equivalent of at least two years of study at University level of the appropriate language(s) and culture(s).

Course Summary

An introduction to one of the central texts of German literary history and its political utilisation in 19th and 20th century Germany.

Course Description

In the first part of the course we will discuss the Nibelungenlied itself. Students will be expected to have read the text (in modern German translation) before the start of the course. We will discuss a range of central issues, reflecting the scholarly discourse, e.g.: position of the text within its historical and literary context (patron and audience, questions of authorship and genre etc.); historiography; the portrayal of the main protagonists and their scope of action; moral and values. In the second part of the course, we will discuss a number of sources, across a variety of genres (poetry, film, drama, political speeches etc.), that engage with and respond to the Nibelungenlied in different ways. Following a chronological order, we will analyse these sources in their respective historical/political contexts and discuss how motives from the medieval text are employed, and for what purpose. Students will have to prepare for each class by re-reading select passages from primary texts as well as a number of suggested secondary sources, and by discussing their reading in Autonomous Learning Groups, responding to given questions and topics. Brief reports from the discussions in the ALGs will form the basis for further discussions in class. All students are expected to participate in ALGs and to contribute actively to seminar discussions. This will help you further develop your oral communication and group working skills; it will also allow you to try out and receive feedback on your ideas and to find answers to your questions - which, in turn, will help with the preparation for the written course assignments. The written assignments are: a) One commentary exercise of approximately 800 words, to be submitted mid-term (30% of the final mark is based on this). In this, students will engage in close reading with a passage from the 'Nibelungenlied', outlining and analysing key elements of this passage and linking them to the wider issues presented in the text as a whole. The commentary will be assessed on the basis of the level of critical engagement shown, the originality of the responses to the passage and wider concepts, clarity of expression, and formal aspects such as formatting of quotations and references. Students will receive feedback on the commentary; this will help them in the preparation for the end-of-course essay. b) One end-of-course essay of approximately 2500 words (70% of the final mark is based on this). This will be assessed on the basis of the usual assessment criteria for academic essays, following the common marking scheme.The course is assessed on the basis of coursework only, as outlined above; there is no exam. In addition to developing knowledge and understanding of a text that has a central place in German literary history and played a pivotal part in discourses on German national identity over many centuries, students will be able to further develop a range of graduate skills such as independent learning and research skills, time management, oral and written communication skills, team work, attention to detail.

Assessment Information

Written Exam 0%, Coursework 100%, Practical Exam 0%

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