Presession Online Course Ger 278.Summer 2014


Masterpieces of Medieval German Literature

May 18-June 6, 2014

This course can count toward the Cultural Minor in German Studies or toward the THEMATIC MINOR IN MEDIEVAL STUDIES


INSTRUCTOR: Prof. Albrecht Classen, Dept. of German Studies, 301 Learning Services Building, Office 318; tel. 621-1395;;


Even if you are only faintly interested in the Middle Ages, studying some of the German masterpieces in English translation will quickly make you to a convert.

We will read, first, the famous Nibelungenlied (first week), and then Gottfried von Strassburg’s Tristan. Time permitting, depending on our class discussions (all online), we will also turn to Wolfram von Eschenbach’s Parzival.

To make this to a good online experience, I will work with each of you individually to prepare your papers (1 per text), and will regularly send you comments about the works and their background via D2L.

We can also try to have chatroom meetings, but this might be difficult considering the online condition and the time changes for all of you.

The Nibelungenlied is an awesome epic about heroes, murder, revenge, hatred, and armageddon. Semi-gods mix with ordinary people,

Gottfried’s Tristan is an awesome and most moving love romance which will trigger many thoughts in you.

Wolfram’s Parzival  is a grail romance, combining the quest for the self with the quest for the Grail, the ultimate goal of all chivalry in a religious context. Here we come across deep questions reg. toleration, and perhaps even tolerance.

Week One: Nibelungenlied; submit answers to essay questions: 300 points .

Week Two: Gottfried’s Tristan: submit answers to essay questions: 300 points

Week Three: Wolfram’s Parzival. We’ll conclude the semester with an exam consisting of essay questions.submit answers to essay qestions reg. Parzival and the entire course: 400 points

All three books are available in the UA bookstore, and elsewhere.