SoSe 13: Naturalistic Storytelling - Past and Present
Emerging at the turn of the nineteenth century as a predecessor of literary realism, naturalist storytelling brought forth some of the fiercest and most ambitious critiques of American culture. Often ... read more
Emerging at the turn of the nineteenth century as a predecessor of literary realism, naturalist storytelling brought forth some of the fiercest and most ambitious critiques of American culture. Often vastly pessimistic about the course of modern civilization, it depicts human being as a product of its environment, driven by its lower instincts and caught in a Darwinist struggle for survival that either leads to irredeemable (self-)destruction or to salvation through redemptive animalistic powers. The course sets out to study naturalistic storytelling in its social, intellectual and artistic contexts. Working our way through foundational texts by Darwin, Marx and Zola and classical naturalistic novels by Dreiser, Crane, Norris, we will leap to more recent tales by Powers, DeLillo, Winslow, the Coen Brother film No Country for Old Men (based on a naturalist novel of McCarthy) and David Simon's TV series The Wire, this course scrutinizes 'classical' and present forms naturalistic storytelling across different media.
To get credit for this course you need to: (1) thoroughly prepare the assignments and attend class on a regular basis; (2) participate in an expert group; and (3) and write a final paper (15 pages, due at the end of the semester break). A reserve shelf with our novels and further readings will be provided at the library of the John F. Kennedy-Institute. Please be sign up on blackboard by the start of the semester since we will be using the platform frequently to communicate and distribute documents.
Mandatory Readings & Viewings:
Stephen Crane, Maggie: A Girl of the Streets (1893)
Frank Norris, The Octopus (1901)
Theodore Dreiser, Sister Carrie (1900)
Richard Powers, The Echo Maker (2003)
Don DeLillo, Point Omega (2010)
Don Winslow, The Power of the Dog (2005)
No Country for Old Men (2007), dir. Ethan and Joel Coen
The Wire (2002-2008), cr. David Simon