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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Literatures, Languages and Cultures : European Languages and Cultures - German

Undergraduate Course: The Nibelungenlied and its reception in modern Germany (ELCG10024)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Literatures, Languages and Cultures CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 10 (Year 4 Undergraduate) AvailabilityNot available to visiting students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryAn introduction to one of the central texts of German literary history and its political utilisation in 19th and 20th century Germany.
Course description In the first part of the course we will discuss the Nibelungenlied itself. Students will be expected to have read the text (in modern German translation) before the start of the course. We will discuss a range of central issues, reflecting the scholarly discourse, e.g.: position of the text within its historical and literary context (patron and audience, questions of authorship and genre etc.); historiography; the portrayal of the main protagonists and their scope of action; moral and values. In the second part of the course, we will discuss a number of sources, across a variety of genres (poetry, film, drama, political speeches etc.), that engage with and respond to the Nibelungenlied in different ways. Following a chronological order, we will analyse these sources in their respective historical/political contexts and discuss how motives from the medieval text are employed, and for what purpose.
Students will have to prepare for each class by re-reading select passages from primary texts as well as a number of suggested secondary sources, and by discussing their reading in Autonomous Learning Groups, responding to given questions and topics. Brief reports from the discussions in the ALGs will form the basis for further discussions in class. All students are expected to participate in ALGs and to contribute actively to seminar discussions (10% of the final mark is based on class participation). This will help them further develop their oral communication and group working skills; it will also allow them to try out and receive feedback on their ideas and to find answers to their questions, which will help with the preparation for the written course assignments.
The written assignments are:
a) One reflective essay of approximately 800 words, to be submitted mid-term (20% of the final mark is based on this). In this, students will be expected to engage critically with a number of select sources (primary and secondary), linking their reading to a specific question or issue. Combining elements of literature review and critical analysis, the reflective essay will be similar to work done in other essays whilst being different in scope and following different formal requirements. It will be assessed on the basis of the level of critical engagement shown, the originality of the responses to ideas/theories, the depth of reflection, clarity of expression, and formal aspects such as formatting of quotations and references. Students will receive feedback on the reflective essay; this will help them in the preparation for the end-of-course essay.
b) One end-of-course essay of approximately 3000 words (70% of the final mark is based on this). This will be assessed on the basis of the usual assessment criteria for academic essays, following the common marking scheme.
The course is assessed on the basis of coursework only, as outlined above; there is no exam.
In addition to developing knowledge and understanding of a text that has a central place in German literary history and played a pivotal part in discourses on German national identity over many centuries, students will be able to further develop a range of graduate skills such as independent learning and research skills, time management, oral and written communication skills, team work, attention to detail.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Students MUST have passed:
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements Honours entry. Non-honours and Visiting Students should be enrolled on the SCQF Level 9 course variant instead.
Course Delivery Information
Not being delivered
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. demonstrate an advanced knowledge of a range of sources across different genres in their socio-historical and cultural contexts as well as a good understanding of the theoretical and conceptual frameworks needed to analyse them
  2. select and apply relevant theoretical and methodological approaches in their critical evaluation of text, film and visual art within defined projects of research, and to demonstrate mastery of relevant technical terminology and research methods
  3. critically review and consolidate their knowledge and skills, to evaluate arguments and to develop original ideas and interpretations in their engagement with primary and secondary sources, showing awareness of nuance and accommodating ambiguities
  4. construct coherent arguments which engage effectively with the sources and the relevant contexts, and to present them with a high level of clarity in both oral and written form, and to use a range of resources, including online databases, to obtain information to evaluate
  5. demonstrate autonomy and initiative in their activities, carry out independent research under the guidance of the tutor, and to show awareness of own and others' roles and responsibilities in their work with others as part of a team
Reading List
Required introductory reading:
Das Nibelungenlied. Mittelhochdeutsch / Neuhochdeutsch. Edited by Ursula Schulze, Stuttgart: Reclam, 2011
Ursula Schulze, Das Nibelungenlied, Stuttgart: Reclam, 2003
A full reading list will be made available via LEARN at the start of the course.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills By the end of the course, students will have further developed their skills in the areas of research and enquiry, personal and intellectual autonomy, communication, and personal effectiveness. For further specification of these skills see the university's graduate and employability skills framework at
Special Arrangements Students will be enrolled for this course by the DELC Teaching Organisation.
Additional Class Delivery Information One 2-hr weekly seminar. In addition, students will be required to attend weekly autonomous learning groups which are arranged by students themselves at suitable times.
KeywordsDELC Nibelungenlied,medieval_literature,German_identity
Course organiserDr Sabine Rolle
Tel: (0131 6)50 3670
Course secretaryMiss Gillian Paterson
Tel: (0131 6)50 3646
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