Introduction to Literary Studies II

This course, as its title suggests, is part 2 of the introduction to literary studies in the English & American Studies program. Whereas "Intro I" offered an introduction to literary studies in general and the analysis of poetry, "Intro II" focuses on prose and drama. We will thus discuss different ways of analyzing and interpreting these literary forms, garnished with examples taken from comics, film, and television.

In addition to discussing various texts and certain tools to approach them in an academic way, we will freshen up your memory concerning conducting research in literary and cultural studies and work on your writing skills. Finally, one of the purposes of this course is to prepare you for the General Intermediate Exam in English and American Literature (aka 'Fachprüfung 1').

The aim of this course is to offer a basic understanding of the operating principles of narrative and dramatic texts and to introduce you to practical and theoretical aspects of academic work, especially, of course, in the field of literary studies. This introductory seminar will help you become more competent and sensitive readers and develop descriptive and analytical skills that will serve as the foundations for your college careers in literary studies.

Course website

Sample Student Feedback:

"I [...] want to [...] express how much I enjoyed your course. I was interested in (reading/analyzing/the history of) literature before and have been taking courses on literature from time to time ever since I started with my studies. But your course was the first one that gave me the feeling of having acquired a real understanding of the inner workings and mechanisms that make narrative media work. [...] [Y]ou managed to sever the link between structure and a certain medium through which it is communicated and showed us that many other media besides written texts are worthy of the attention of literary studies. In addition, you stressed the importance that story-telling has for human culture(s). [...] [Y]our course, if you pardon this cliché [...], really broadened my horizon. Having a better, more orderly understanding of this big and confusing world while (paradoxically?) also having become aware of even more unanswered questions—this is, in my opinion, the best result a course at a university can produce. For me, your introduction certainly accomplished that. Oh, and did I mention it was fun (especially the discussions), I got to read a lot of new, gripping texts, and got acquainted with authors I hadn't heard of before? Let's just say the to-be-read list on this computer here didn't get any shorter. [...] I had a great time."