October 1: Dürrenmatt, Der Auftrag and Der Räuber (Heisenberg)

Session Preview

This session will be conducted somewhat differently from those that have preceded it. We will discuss these two rather different texts that are paired here for a simple reason: both Tanja Nusser and I are giving talks at the German Studies Association this coming weekend based partly on these texts. We will discuss these texts and how to approach them, but also talk about how we go about preparing an academic paper using concrete and up-to-the-minute examples. How do we come up with topics? How do we figure out what to write and what to cite? How do we get our thoughts up to or down to a 20-minute talk? What are the differences between teaching a text, giving a talk on a text, and writing an article on a text? What obstacles did we find as we wrote these papers and how did we manage to overcome them?


Friedrich Dürrenmatt, Der Auftrag 

Der Räuber  (dir. Heisenberg)

GSA Papers: Herzog and Nusser


What to think about as you prepare for class

As you prepare for class, think about what each text wants to accomplish. Dürrenmatt's highly-experimental text seems largely incomprehensible on a first reading. Identify key passages and figure out what is going on. How does the text's style relate to its themes? What are these themes? Heisenberg's film, based on a real case from the 1980s, is cast in a very different style (as well as a different medium). What do we learn about the protagonist in this film? Do his running and bankrobbing fit together in a meaningful way? If so, how? In the comments below, let's start a discussion as to how these two texts relate to two analagous texts from the Weimar section of the course: Kafka's Prozeß and Lang's M .