Fall 2015 - Graduate Course Descriptions

Rodriguez, Robert
Discipline and Number
HUAS 6399 Section 501
T Time 7:00 PM - 9:45 PM
Course Title
Vienna & Berlin: Wagner-WWII

Description of Course:

HUSL 6330.501 and HUAS 6399.501 will be offered concurrently. The two courses will be taught by Dr. Zsuzsanna Ozsvath, a Holocaust scholar and literary translator, and Dr. Robert Xavier Rodriguez, a composer-conductor. We will explore the arts, culture, and social-political history of one of the richest art-producing times and places in history: Vienna and Berlin, between the death of Wagner (1883) and the rise of Hitler (1933).

In order to understand the Zeitgeist of this extraordinary era, we will read and analyze representative masterworks by major artists and philosophers in the context of the vast social, philosophical, scientific, and political upheavals in which they worked. We will concentrate on writers, such as Wedekind, Mann, and Brecht; on poets, such as Hofmannstahl , Rilke, Elsa Lasker-Schueler, and Benn; on composers, such as Mahler, Strauss, Weill, Schoenberg, Berg, and Webern; on visual artists, such as Klimt, Kokoschka, and Kandinsky; on film makers, such as Pabst, Lang and von Sternberg, and on thinkers, such as Freud. We will trace the tradition from which this body of breathtaking work developed, emphasize the stylistic connections between these artists, and compare the art of this culture with the work of contemporaries in other countries. We also will trace the influence of the work on subsequent artists and draw conclusions about the nature and perception of art of that time as well as about the interaction between art and society.

Required Texts:

Required Reading:

Bertolt Brecht, The Three-penny Opera (libretto)
Allan Janik and Stephen Toulman, Wittgenstein's Vienna
Thomas Mann, "Death in Venice"
Friedrich Neitzche, The Birth of Tragedy
Charles Rosen, Arnold Schoenberg
Anthony Storr, Music and the Mind
John Willett, Art and Politics in the Weimar Period
Stefan Zweig, The World of Yesterday

Plus class handouts and web links for reading, viewing and listening

Recommended Reading:

Aaron Copland, The New Music
Thomas Mann, "Tonio Kroger"
Carl E. Schorske, Fin-de-siecle Vienna: Politics and Culture

Course Requirements/Evaluation Criteria:

Prior expertise in any of these fields of study is not required. There will be no examinations. Each student will be asked to write two analytical term papers: the first one should be one or two pages in length, the second one 10-12 pages.

Learning Objectives:

1) Demonstrate the ability to describe and analyze the elements and organization of all genres of the art of this culture in terms of tradition, style, and form, with particular emphasis on the socio-political events of the time and the interaction between the art forms.

2) Analyze and explain the artistic experience through a demonstrated understanding of the terminology and techniques of arts criticism.

3) Develop skills and techniques for formal academic writing, including skills for verbalizing non-verbal phenomena, such as music and visual art.

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