Comedy and Humor

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Amherst College

The course with the shortest reading list ever – not! Contrary to popular opinion, Germans (and their Austrian and Swiss neighbors) do have a sense of humor that has produced a wide variety of both high-brow and popular forms, ranging from the absurdist skits of Karl Valentin and Liesl Karlstadt, to raunchy “Ostfriesenwitze,” and to the current boom in sex and “relationship” comedies in film. We will explore broadsheets and cartoons (Wilhelm Busch, Loriot, E. O. Plauen, Uli Stein), populist theater forms such as the operetta (Strauss, Lehar) and farcical “Volkstheater,” sophisticated literary comedies (Tieck, Büchner, Sternheim, Dürrenmatt), social satire in print and other media (Heine, Kraus, Tucholsky, Staudte, Irmtraud Morgner, Robert Gernhardt, Eckhard Henscheid, Luise Pusch, Elfriede Jelinek), parody pastiche in song and movies (Comedian Harmonists, Max Raabe, Bully Herbig), and political humor in cabaret from the Wilhelmine period, the Weimar Republic, inside and outside the Third Reich, communist East Germany, and the multi-ethnic Germany of today (Wedekind, Werner Finck, Erika Mann, Gerhart Polt, Sinasi Dikmen). Primary materials will be supplemented by theoretical readings, including Arthur Koestler, Volker Klotz, Susanne Schäfer, and-of course-Sigmund Freud. Conducted in German.

Requisite: GERM 210 or equivalent. Fall Semester. Professor Rogowski.

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Permission is required for interchange registration during the add/drop period only.
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Course Sections

Comedy and Humor
Sect # Credits Instructor(s) Instructor Email Meeting Times Location
01 4.0 Christian Rogowski TTH 02:30PM-03:50PM CHAP 119