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Peter Hess, Chair 2505 University Avenue, Burdine Hall 336, Mailcode C3300, Austin TX 78712-1802 • 512-471-4123

Spring 2010

GER 392 • Literature and Travel

Unique Days Time Location Instructor
38147 M
2:00 PM-5:00 PM
BUR 232

Course Description

This seminar has two main objectives: 1) to provide an overview of the history of travel and the enormous changes in modes and goals of travel between 1770 and 1870 and 2) to investigate the changes that this travel had on perceptions of the world during the same period, particularly as they left their mark on German cultural writing and literature. It will begin with the travels and writings of the popular and influential Georg Forster who accompanied Cook on his trip around the world and with the naturalist Alexander von Humboldt who wrote extensively about his1799-1804 trip to the Americas over the course of many decades. We will then consider the impact of new technologies on literary expression in the first half of the nineteenth century (in writings like Stifter's "Kondor "or travelers' essays on the experience of the railway). We will focus on the role of travel and tourism in the development of new genres at mid-century, such as Heine's Reisebilder and new media, such as Baedeker's travel guides and geographical magazines intended for a broad reading public. The extensive emigration to the Americas is the focus of numerous authors in the mid-nineteenth century such as Sealsfield and Gerstäcker, while the same period also saw the significant increase in the ability of women to travel (Pfeiffer). Finally, we will consider the impact of German colonial aspirations on writing about the rest of the world in popular geographical magazines and specifically in texts of German travel writers such as Rohlfs. Given its focus this literature seminar will devote significant attention to the structural and social changes that allowed for greater geographical mobility in the nineteenth century. Due to the wide variety of texts included it will also focus on issues such as context, authorship, publication, and audience. Topics: Enlightenment and Sentimental Journeys The Grand Tour Discovery and Science Fantasy and Utopia Romantic Travel Parody Technology and Tourism Travel essay Emigration and Outsiders Popular and Colonial Imagination Nostalgic Journeys

Grading Policy

Participation, discussion questions, peer reviews - 20% Reaction papers (5% x 4) - 20% Presentation - 20% Term paper - 40%


Readings will include works/excerpts by: Laurence Sterne; Moritz August von Thümmel; Theodor Gottlieb von Hippel; Johann Gottfried Herder;Johann Wolfgang von Goethe; Joachim Heinrich Campe; Georg Forster; Alexander von Humboldt;Jean Paul; Adalbert Stifter; Heinrich Hoffmann von Fallersleben; Heinrich Heine;Hermann von Pückler-Muskau; Charles Sealsfield; Friedrich Gerstaecker; Alexis de Toqueville; Ida Pfeiffer; Theodor Fontane; Gerhard Rohlfs; as well as secondary scholarship on travel, exploration, geographical publications, and colonialism (and some short excerpts from travel guides, geographical magazines, etc)


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