2018-2019 Catalog

CSLC 109 From Kafka to Twitter: Small Forms of the Literary

Small forms cover the broad field, from aphorisms, epigrams, fables, and riddles, to anecdotes, jokes, short stories, and novellas. In each of these forms, smallness unfolds in different and historically-specific ways. From the aphorisms of the 19th century to the Twitter updates of today, the course will explore the poetics and pragmatics of small forms in German literature, philosophy, and contemporary social media. Questions to be discussed in the course include: what can small mean at the level of (literary) form? What kind of readings does small form facilitate? Which does it thwart? To what extent does small form gain epistemological significance with respect to the critique of systematic philosophy? And what can its contemporary manifestation in the form of social media “microformats,” such as tweets, blog posts, and Vine videos, inform us about condensation, narration, and knowledge in the present? Readings include: Georg Lichtenberg, Schlegel, Novalis, Nietzsche, Kafka, Walser, Benjamin, and Twitter. All readings and discussion in English.


4 units

Core Requirements Met

  • Regional Focus