Middlebury Language Schools

 

Miriam-Esther Owesle

German School Faculty

Heidelberg-born art-historian Miriam-Esther Owesle studied Art History, German Literature and Dramatics at the Free University of Berlin where she wrote her doctoral thesis about Berlin Impressionist Franz Skarbina (1849-1910). Specialized in European art and culture of the 19th and early 20th century her scientific focus lies on the painting and sculpture of Classical Modern Art especially German and French Impressionism and on the art and cultural history of Berlin. She teaches at the Free University of Berlin, works as a curator for the Kulturpark Berlin GmbH and is Board Member of the Fonte Foundation, promoting young researchers in the humanities. As a freelance author she writes for several artists and art institutions as well as for newspapers and magazines. She worked for numerous book publications like Adolph Menzel. Briefe (Deutscher Kunstverlag, Berlin, München, 2009), Dodo – Leben und Werk (Verlag Hatje Cantz, Ostfildern 2012), Max Slevogt – Neue Wege des Impressionismus (Hirmer Verlag, München 2014).

 
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Courses

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GRMN 6613 - Literary Berlin in Golden 20s      

Between Glamour and Gutter - Literary Berlin in the Golden Twenties

Within only a few years Berlin advanced to the “literary capital” of Germany during the Weimar Republic (1918-1933). Thereby the modern city was not only a production place for writers of a great variety of genres. Rather novelists and poets, dramatists and feuilletonists focused on municipal subjects in their works. In the course we’re going to analyse novels like “Berlin Alexanderplatz” from Alfred Döblin, “Das kunstseidene Mädchen” from Irmgard Keun and “Fabian” from Erich Kästner as well as of poems from Bertolt Brecht, Gottfried Benn or Georg Trakl and essayistic texts like Franz Hessels “Spazieren in Berlin” or Bernard von Brentanos “Wo in Europa liegt Berlin?” We will have to question, how the authors react to the rapidly changing living conditions in the million-strong metropolis and in which way the literary and essayistic texts mirror the multifaceted social-cultural realities of the so called Golden Twenties – a time, in which enormous social ills prevailed just below a shimmering surface and life was oscillating between glamour and gutter.

Required texts: Döblin: Berlin Alexanderplatz (Fischer); Hessel: Spazieren in Berlin (Berlin Verlag Taschenbuch (2012)); Kästner: Fabian (dtv); Keun: Das kunstseidene Mädchen (List).

Literature

Summer 2014 Language Schools

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GRMN 6695 - 19-20C German Painting      

From Romanticism to Expressionism - German Painting between Depitction of Nature and Abstraction

The liberation of the artists subject from any regulating force within German expressionism has romantic origins. While the great romantic Caspar David Friedrich was oriented to the natural model in his landscape paintings, creative fantasy also played a major role in his compositions. In this respect, we can draw a bow from Friedrichs romanticism to the realism of Adolph Menzel, the Impressionism of Max Liebermann, Max Slevogt and Lovis Corinth and the unrestricted subjectivity in works of Expressionists like Ernst Ludwig Kirchner and the artists group “Die Brücke” or Wassily Kandisky and “Der blaue Reiter”. On the basis of a profound discussion of theoretical texts an integral part of the seminar will be the close analysis of composition and style of selected and representative works which show the artists balancing act between depiction of nature and abstraction in the course of the whole 19th century until the early 20th century. On behalf of this, the red thread should be carved out, which runs from german romantic painting to famous classical modern works.

Required text: Uerlings: Theorie der Romantik (Reclam).

Area Studies

Summer 2014 Language Schools

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