BM1 Introduction to the Critical and Scholarly Discussion of Literature:Curriculum

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To prepare students for participation in the critical and scholarly debate on literature by

  1. developing an understanding of the issues and questions dealt with in literary studies.
  2. acquiring and consolidating the basic knowledge and skills necessary for such an understanding.
  3. beginning to apply their knowledge and skills in order to address scholarly and critical issues.


At the level of requisite knowledge, students will obtain an initial familiarity with

  • different conceptions and definitions of ‘literature’
  • the traditions of the debate about literature (its origins in the debates of "literature", "poesy", "romances and novels" and the "belles lettres")
  • the spectrum of genres and periods in literary history
  • literary schools and movements
  • critical schools and movements
  • changing historical conditions of performance, as well as of book production and circulation


The range of skills required for understanding issues and participating in the scholarly and critical discussion of literature includes study skills...

  • finding information (library and reference skills),
  • processing information (selecting and making excerpts of primary and secondary material; using secondary material for discussion)
  • presenting information (orally and in writing) well as critical skills and reading strategies

  • recognising and describing the specific character of narrative, dramatic and poetic communication.
  • describing techniques of generating meaning through characterisation, figurative speech and performance.
  • situating texts in interactions in which they were produced, read, discussed
  • identifying contexts in which a text could play a role today
  • in scholarly discussions
  • in projects of work one could do in a seminar paper

Requirements, Portfolio

The module consists of two parts, a seminar (/Uebung) and a tutorial. The seminar, offered in a about four parallel courses every term, is designed to teach practical skills and give students a first introduction to historical perspectives on literary studies (click here for information on the schedule). The tutorial is one of the two tutorials which are offered jointly with the BM 2 (Introduction to Anglophone Cultural Studies, link). (A tutorial on "Research Methods" will be offered in the winter term, another tutorial on "Exploring History and Theory" will be offered in the summer term. In order to complete BM1 and BM2, both tutorials must be completed successfully. Hence, all students who are at the Basismodul level must participate in the tutorial "Research Methods" in this semester). Regular participation is a prerequisite. The portfolio of requirements for BM1 consists of five items. There are four distinct assignments to be completed in the course of the seminar. In addition, you must have the certificate of successful completion of the tutorial (in this case: "Research Methods"). All five assignments are obligatory. They will be rated as follows:


  • 3 Exercises in Textual Analysis (on poetry, fiction and drama; maximum of 3 pages each) - 60% of the final mark (20% each)
  • Research paper project (title, bibliography, outline, summary of argument; maximum of 2 pages) - 40% of the final mark


  • certificate of successful completion (pass/fail, i.e. not graded)

Note for students who have already completed parts of BM1:

  • students who have successfully completed the "Übung" of the old "VL/UE" system: you will need to complete the tutorial "Exploring History and Theory" (currently only offered in the summer semester: if you wish to attend Aufbaumodule in literary studies in the summer term, while you are completing this tutorial, please apply for special permission with the person in charge of the module [generally Prof. Kirchhofer]).
  • students who have already successfully completed the Written Test on the "Vorlesung": you only need to complete the "seminar" with its four marked requirements.