2018-2019 University Catalogue 
    Jun 17, 2024  
2018-2019 University Catalogue [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

GERM 465 - Genius and Madness

Since Plato, artists and philosophers have recognized the close connection between genius and madness (Wahnsinn). But how exactly does one distinguish between inspiration and mania? Why is it so many geniuses are also mad? And how do changing definitions of mental illness affect how one perceives the relationship between madness and genius across history? These questions are central to the study of literature, philosophy, and the history of social institutions. In this course, students delve deeper into these questions by examining a series of literary, philosophical, and visual works from the German tradition that foreground the relationship between madness and genius, as well as works by geniuses that may also have been “mad.” Authors may include Plato, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Friedrich Hölderlin, Immanuel Kant, Heinrich von Kleist, Georg Büchner, E.T.A. Hoffmann, Friedrich Nietzsche, Robert Walser, and Thomas Mann. This course emphasizes reading, speaking, listening, and writing German, as well as discipline-specific research skills.

Credits: 1.00
Corequisite: None
Prerequisites: Two GERM 300-level courses
Major/Minor Restrictions: None
Class Restriction: None
Area of Inquiry: Human Thought and Expression
Liberal Arts CORE: None

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