Reading Between the Signs: Intertextuality in Shakespeare, Lenz, and Büchner
German 582, C Lit 596, English 552
Nothing can be read on its own. All texts are always already enmeshed in con-texts: the webs of readings that inform the author’s work; the network of books and films that make up a reader’s horizon. This course will explore this pluralistic condition of reading. We will examine theoretical interventions in citationality, intertextuality, and remediation. Principally, however, we will engage authors who make intertexts central to their work. Shakespeare’s plays are stitched together from many sources. Like Frankenstein’s monster, the amalgam lives a life of its own beyond the promise of its constituent parts. Shakespeare, in turn, served as a talismanic model for the iconoclastic plays of J.M.R. Lenz, a leader of the Storm and Stress movement in the 1770s. Finally, both Shakespeare and Lenz (and Lenz’s Shakespeare) feature prominently in Georg Büchner’s works in the 1830s, which inspired both naturalism and surrealism in the century after his death.
Main texts: Shakespeare, Troilus and Cressida, Measure for Measure, Hamlet, Julius Caesar, As You Like It, Love’s Labor’s Lost; Lenz, Remarks on the Theater, The Tutor; Büchner, Lenz, Leonce and Lena, Danton’s Death, Woyzeck (Berg, Wozzeck; Herzog, Woyzeck; Robert Wilson and Tom Waits, Blood Money)
Discussion in English. Readings available in English translation.