The Volksstueck Tradition|
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.
||Gen Ed Area Dept:
|Course Format: Seminar||Grading Mode: Student Option|
||Fulfills a Major Requirement for: (GRST-MN)(GRST)
|Examinations and Assignments: |
Several short papers, analytical or creative in nature, will be submitted for corrections and comments and then revised. The class will organize a staged reading of scenes from a work in the Volksstück repertory.
Regular attendance, lively participation in class discussion, and timely submission of assignments are expected.
|Additional Requirements and/or Comments: |
Prerequisites for this course are successful completion of GRST 213, a semester of study in Germany, or the equivalent.
The course will provide ample opportunities for increasing oral fluency, writing skill, and reading comprehension.
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