Picador Seminars by Calvin Baker

The Lions in Winter

Wednesdays, 3-6 pm, GWZ 3 5.15.

The American novel, like America itself, enjoyed new significance after the Second Great War. While the reasons for this owe perhaps as much to geopolitics as creativity the results are undeniable—a generation’s quest to write the great American novel.

Many of these novels, directly or indirectly, grapple with the specter of American colonialism, its attendant holocausts, and what they mean for the national identity, as well as the individual self.

In this course we will examine four late novels by living masters of American literature, with an eye toward what they may wish to tell us about America, and about life itself.

The readings for this class will include:

Don DeLillo, Falling Man
Cormac McCarthy, The Road
Toni Morrison, Home
Philip Roth, Indignation

The books have been ordered at the Connewitzer Verlagsbuchhandlung

Sessions will start on 15 May.

This course is part of the Literature an Culture III Module.


Language and the Imagination: An Introduction to Writing Fiction in English

Fridays, 11 am to 1 pm, GWZ 3 5.15.

Ever since writing in the vernacular became an accepted mode of literary expression, beginning with Dante, most writers have written in their mother tongues. Yet the global upheavals of the past hundred years have produced noteworthy exceptions—including the works of Joseph Conrad and Vladimir Nabokov, and Samuel Beckett’s masterworks in French—to say nothing of African and Asian literatures.

For contemporary Europeans these shifts of history have also witnessed a growing English language influence (in the form of loan words, Anglo-American ways of seeing, and the language in which one reads the production of other cultures).

Whether one wishes to become a writer, translator or serious critic, attempting the challenge of writing in another language can offer profound gifts for ones understanding of the possibilities of language itself.

Through the analysis of each student’s work we will discuss a range of technical and imaginative concerns common to all prose writing, with an especial eye toward considering how language works in fiction as a whole, and deepening our fluency in English. We will also discuss the cultural, political and economic implications of such influence.

Enrollment is limited to ten students, and is open to writers (regardless of their mastery of English), students contemplating a future as translators, and advanced students of American or English Literature.

Magisterstudents, please note that the rules for using Picadorscheins apply for this course. Get in touch with your students advisors if you have any questions.

Sessions will start on 17 May.

You can apply for this class via email.