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The Volksstueck Tradition
GRST 376
Spring 2020 not offered

In this course we will be studying the Austrian and German genre of the Volksstück. As the name suggests, plays in this genre are intended to address the joys and sorrows of ordinary people in their everyday lives, both reflecting and commenting on the social life of their times. While 19th-century Austrian Volksstücke owed much to the conventions of the commedia del arte, the genre evolved in the 20th century into a form of critical social analysis. This evolution accompanied changing concepts of the "Volk," with salaried office workers coming to the fore during the Weimar Republic. The 20th-century Volksstücke written between the world wars present characters who in real life would likely become supporters of the Nazis. Starting in the 1960s, playwrights and audiences rediscovered the Volksstücke of the prewar period, and new authors emerged. Topics and stylistic features we will examine include the changing figurations of the "Volk," dialogue employing actual or synthetic dialect and colloquial language, the prevalence of inarticulateness or inauthentic speech, oppression and exploitation of women, shifts in class attitudes, and the increasing influence of the mass media. Interesting parallels to the Volksstück can be found in Norman Lear's long-running television series "All in the Family." Among the authors we will be reading are Johann Nepomuk Nestroy, Bertolt Brecht, Karl Kraus, Marieluise Fleisser, Ödön von Horváth, Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Martin Sperr, Wolfgang Bauer, and Franz Xaver Kroetz. All reading, writing, and class discussion will be in German.
Credit: 1 Gen Ed Area Dept: HA GRST
Course Format: SeminarGrading Mode: Student Option
Level: UGRD Prerequisites: GRST213
Fulfills a Major Requirement for: (GRST-MN)(GRST)

Last Updated on MAY-24-2024
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