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GEA3: Introduction to German 3 - German Culture

This paper is available for the academic year 2020-21.

This page is currently under construction and the content may change.

This paper is the consolidated scheduled paper for students at Part IA (Option A).

The paper overlaps with but is distinct from GE1: Introduction to German Studies (the scheduled paper for Option B). GEA3 is specifically for ab initio students of German, and aims to introduce you to aspects of German culture which form part of German as a Tripos subject: the formal study of literature of all periods, linguistics, history and thought. No prior knowledge of any of these areas is presumed, and each module introduces the topic and the analytical skills which are needed to work further in the relevant area. By the end of the first year, students should have an overview of German Studies which will enable them to make informed choices at Part IB and Part II.

The paper covers five topics, outlined below, plus literary commentary skills. Two lectures are devoted to each of the topics and one to commentary skills. The order in which modules are presented may vary when academic staff are on research leave.


HISTORY - Imperial Germany 1871-1918*

  • Bismarck’s Chancellorship
  • The Reign of Wilhelm II


  • Kafka: Die Verwandlung


  • Marx and Engels: Manifest der Kommunistischen Partei


  • Three female-voiced lyrics from the canon of early German minnesang (with accompanying modern German translation).

LINGUISTICS - Language and Lexicography*

  • Konrad Duden, Deutsche Rechtschreibung

* these lectures are simultaneously GE1 lectures; lecturers will make provision for ab initio students of German as well as for those who already have good knowledge of the language.

Preparatory reading: 

Students should familiarise themselves with the material involved in all five topics so that they can make informed choices as they move through the year about the topics on which they would like to be supervised. Students are also advised to concentrate on the texts for which lectures are scheduled in the first term, and reminded that in most cases this preparation will be extremely useful in relation to their language work.

For details of the preparatory reading list see here.

Teaching and learning: 

It is expected that students will attend all lectures and that they will have supervisions on the Modern Literature topic plus three further topics. Those four supervisions will all be in the Lent term, and there will be two further revision supervisions in the Easter term. In most cases students will be seen by more than one supervisor over the course of their studies for this paper. Supervisions will be timetabled centrally, by the course convenor. GEA3's Moodle site can be accessed here.


Assessment is by a three-hour written examination. There are questions on all five topics and candidates may answer any three questions.

Course Contacts: 
Dr Martin Ruehl
Dr Charlotte Lee (on maternity leave - please send queries to Dr Ruehl)