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GM4089   Mermaids, Devils, Fortunes: How the German Novel Began

Academic year(s): 2019-2020

Key information

SCOTCAT credits : 15

ECTS credits : 7

Level : SCQF Level 10

Semester: 2

This module investigates the early modern genre of the Prosaroman, a collection of fifteenth- and sixteenth-century prose narratives often regarded as precursors to the modern novel. We will analyse how novels such as Melusine, Fortunatus and Historia von D. Johann Fausten capture the tensions and conflicts of the transitional period of which they are a product. At the same time, we will consider later adaptations of these texts and their central motifs, e.g. by Fontane, Chamisso and Goethe. We will probe into the significance which the original prose novels held for the later texts, which appropriate them in a diverse manner shaped by the varied demands of Weimar classicism, romanticism and social realism, and will examine the presence of narrative strategies and continuities in approach which connect the early modern novel to its latter-day re-workings.