Teaching

I have designed and taught or co-taught the following literature/culture courses:

Seduction and Destruction: 1772-1808 (University of Bristol) – Taught in the year of #MeToo, this course explored the late eighteenth-century fascination with the undoing of innocent women: on stage, in prose, and in a great many poems and ballads. Watching the plot of ‘verführte Unschuld’ (ensnared innocence) unfold was a way for readers and audiences to explore issues around sexuality, morality and the social freedom of the individual. We read Sophie Sternheim (La Roche), Faust and other poems by Goethe, Emilia Galotti (Lessing) and poems from Des Knaben Wunderhorn (Arnim and Brentano), as well as eighteenth-century philosophical and theoretical texts on sexuality and gender roles and historical evidence from contemporary legal cases.

These images show Faust offering Gretchen an unwanted arm: first in the 2002 Peter Stein stage production, and second in an 1811 engraving by Peter von Cornelius.

‘1968’ in History, Word and Image (co-taught with Katharina Karcher, University of Bristol) – What were the goals of the so-called ‘student-movement’ in Germany, and why did it fail? Who was Rudi Dutschke, and why did Josef Bachmann try to shoot him dead while he was on his way to the pharmacy on April 11th 1968? 50 years after the events of 1968 across Europe, we explored how this period of political turbulence, revolutionary energy and creativity was understood at the time, and remembered today. The course took an interdisciplinary approach to the topic, using a combination of historical sources (such as reports from local and national media) and responses in literature, film and performance art. Students produced creative projects as part of their assessment, which can be seen here.

Political Poetry (University of Bristol) – Examining poetic texts from across two centuries of German history, this course investigated the place of political poetry in literary study. Aesthetic theorists since Schiller have maintained that political poetry is somehow inferior to ‘true’ art because of its grounding in mundane, everyday reality. In this course we asked, where is the line between political poetry and propaganda? What is at stake for a poet when they choose to tackle political subject matter? And why did poets still choose to ‘risk’ their reputations in engaging with political ideas in their works? We read poetic responses to the Seven Years’ War, the Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars, the Restoration period, Vormärz and Wars of Unification, the First World War, the Weimar Republic, and, finally, the Third Reich.

Front cover of Walter Hasenclever’s 1919 poetry collection ‘Der Politische Dichter ‘(the political poet)

The Search for Something More: German Romanticism (University of Reading) – Perhaps no movement has had a greater impact on the foundations of modern western society than the Romantic movement. In this course, we explore how the literary movement developed in response to ‘modernity’ around 1800. Through readings and seminar discussions, we consider the Romantics’ obsession with the past, with nature, and with love as ways to escape and to go beyond the routine experiences of ‘modern’ life. Set texts for study include poetry (Novalis, Günderrode, von Arnim, Brentano), prose extracts, novellas (Tieck), and short stories (Mereau-Brentano, the Grimms).

Novalis’s poem cycle ‘Hymnen an die Nacht’ (Hymns to the night) uses the contrast of day and night to represent different planes of knowledge and experience.

Other Culture and Literature Teaching: I have also taught on pre-existing courses covering German Philosophy from Luther to Arendt, First year Intro to German Literature (poetry, plays, short stories, novels, from the early modern period to the present), eighteenth-century drama, Literature of Berlin, Comparative Literature, Intro to Translation Studies, and Global Fantastic Literature.

Language Teaching: I have experience teaching first year ab initio German, and translation from German to English.