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Douglas Biow, Director MEZ 3.126, Mailcode A1800, Austin, TX 78712 • 512-232-3470

Spring 2009

EUS 347 • Det/Crime Story Ger/Eng/Amer

Unique Days Time Location Instructor
35625 TTh
11:00 AM-12:30 PM
RLM 6.112
ABRAMS, Z

Course Description

Conducted in English.Description: Why are crimes committed? How are they done? Who can commit such, often cold-blooded, atrocities? Why do sleuths and super-sleuths pursue the villains so diligently, even at the risk of their own lives? The readings and class-discussions will demonstrate that Germany and Switzerland have a crime-story but not a detective story tradition, such as the preference in England and the United States. Though Germany and Switzerland failed to provide a super-detective like Sherlock Holmes or Sam Spade to outwit the criminal (and frequently the police), they have elaborated a fascination for crime as a psycho-philosophical problem. On the one hand this is a continuation of the fascination for evil in the 18th century Gothic novel (Schauerroman), yet it is also the offspring of Romantic nihilism. Whereas the Anglo-American tradition resorted to the fairy-tale fiction of the decadent outsider-detective, the super-solver of puzzles, to balance the scales of justice, the German literary development split into two branches: a) the "trivial" Krimi where police bureaucrats craftily restore justice, and b) the literary crim novel where not the solution but rather the crime itself is the essential concern. The French-English (and modern American) roman policier is like the former and will be treated as a separate development. The overall intent will be to trace the development of the particularly German fascination with evil, the why-dunnit? and compare that with the Anglo-American who/how-dunnit?"

Grading Policy

Daily quizzes 30% Midterm exam 20% Final exam 30% Group final project 20%

Texts

Authors include: Schiller, Goethe, Kleist, E.T.A. Hoffman, Poe, Doyle, Sayers, Christie, Hammett, Chandler, Spillane, Kafka, D├╝rrenmatt, Frisch and Hesse.

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