Haverford College
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The “Krimi,” or crime narrative, is perhaps the most popular genre in contemporary Germany, Austria, and Switzerland. Narratives of crime and detection involve the reader or spectator intimately in the unfolding of the plot via the desire to uncover hidden truths. The fascination with crime and the thrill of detection inform narratives as diverse as classical detective novels and psychoanalytical “case studies.” This course will focus on the tropes of crime and detection in order to explore the workings of narrative and genre. The “Krimi” likewise provides a lens through which the crimes of history can be narrated and analyzed. Within this frame, we will read texts from a wide variety of literary periods (the late Enlightenment, nineteenth-century poetic realism, modernism, and postmodernism) as well as a Freudian case study. We will also screen Fritz Lang’s classic film of crime, M, the recent Oscar-winner The Lives of Others, as well as popular television “Krimis.” Close readings of these works will be framed within discussions of historical contexts within the German-speaking world.

*The course will be taught in German.