Novels are filmed, movies turn into novels, novels have sequels, people re-write and re-think and re-form given materials. In this seminar, we will look at those transitions. On the backdrop and with the help of literary theory, we will analyse the processes and mutations that the works undergo in their respective new format. Warning: you'd best start reading the novels and the play in the term break.

Literatur und Filme:

William Shakespeare, King Lear (~1606) and

Jocelyn Denise Moorhouse (Dir.), A Thousand Acres (1997)

John Fowles, The French Lieutenant's Woman (1969) and

Karel Reisz (Dir.), The French Lieutenant's Woman (1981)

Ian McEwan, Enduring Love (1997) and

Roger Michell (Dir.), Enduring Love 2004


Laura Mulvey (1975). "Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema". Bill Nichols (ed.): Movies and Methods. Berkeley und Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1985.

Kai-Marcel Sicks, "Literaturverfilmung und Intermedialität", Schlüsselthemen der Anglistik und Amerikanistik - Key Topics in English and American Studies, Sonja Altnöder et. al. (eds) (Trier 2010), 277-298.

Volker Behrens, "Metamorphosen eines Traumbildes", Literaturverfilmungen, eds. F.J.Albersmeier und V. Roloff (Frankfurt,1989), 347-366.

Voraussetzungen: Regular and active participation. You must have finished reading Enduring Love, King Lear and The French Lieutenant's Woman. Should there be too many students (max. 30), there will be a test to check on this. It is also mandatory that you turn up for the first meeting, no exceptions.

Leistungsnachweis: Regular and active participation during all meetings, research paper (approx. 15-20 standard pages).

This Übung is based on my lecture. Texts will be studied in much greater detail and with more emphasis on the techniques of interpretation. The seminar is limited to a maximum of 25 participants; and again: exam candidates are more than encouraged to attend.



Midsummer Night's Dream

(all: Arden Edition, or, if really necessary, a good bilingual edition)


Regular and active participation. You must have finished reading both plays. If there are too many students (more than 25) there will be a test to check this. It is mandatory that you turn up for the first meeting, no exceptions.

In this lecture, I will give an introduction to the very broad field of 'Shakespeare Studies'. After a brief survey of the background (politics, history, religion, gender) and the development of the theatre before and during Shakespeare's time, I will focus on the problem of the plays' categorization (history, tragedy, etc.) and then proceed to discuss some Shakespearean sonnets, followed by representative and exemplary analyses of plays such as Hamlet, Romeo and Juliet, The Merchant of Venice, Richard II, A Midsummer Night's Dream, Macbeth, King Lear, Julius Caesar, The Tempest; As you like it; Much Ado about Nothing and others. I strongly recommend that you try to read as many of these texts as possible before the start of the term.

Note: the written exams in literary studies ("Fachklausur Literaturwissenschaft") for 'Englisch (L1, L2, L3, L4)' in the spring of 2020 will be based on material which is surveyed in this lecture. Hence exam candidates are very much encouraged to attend.

Literature: A detailed course description will be available on my homepage at the beginning of the term. On the introductory level, I recommend Ulrich Suerbaum, Shakespeares Dramen (no new ed., used copies available). Also, do take a look at Ina Schabert (ed.), Shakespeare Handbuch (Kröner). For background reading, I'd recommend Stephen Greenblatt, Will in the World: How Shakespeare became Shakespeare (Norton) or Bill Bryson, Shakespeare (Atlas/Harper). Excellent introductions to single plays can be found in the respective Arden editions, and in the New Casebooks-Series (Contemporary Critical Essays by Macmillan resp. Palgrave/Macmillan).

Queer is an umbrella term for non-heterosexual/ noncisgender minorities. Reclaiming the initially pejorative term, activists and academics managed to shift a positive semantic focus onto the term's non-normative potential. In the recent past, Queer Studies and Queer Theory have successfully redefined the term by applying a non-binary and intersectional perspective onto texts, films and other works of art.

In this English and German bi-lingual and interdisciplinary seminar, a sociologist, Mechthild Bereswill, and an English Studies scholar, Susanne Bach, will, together with the participants, first focus on a classic, canonical text of homosocial desire (Wilde, Dorian Gray), and then analyse films discussing queer relationships (e.g. Green Tomatoes; Brokeback Mountain; Pride, etc.).

Die Diskussion findet in beiden Sprachen statt; auch Menschen, die Englisch oder Deutsch nicht so gut beherrschen, werden mit diesem Seminar angesprochen.

Ein besonderer inhaltlicher Fokus wird auf die Klischees gelegt, mit denen queere Beziehungen dargestellt und wahrgenommen werden, Kontrast- und Parallelstrukturen zur heteronormativen Gesellschaftsstruktur werden analysiert, und der jeweilige historische Hintergrund wird mit in die Debatte einbezogen.

Texte :

Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray (novel / Roman)


Desert Heart, Green Tomatoes, Brokeback Mountain, Pride, The Kids are All right, The Celluloid Closet.

Secondary Sources:

Nina Degele, Gender / Queer Studies

Christine Etherington-Wright and Ruth Doughty, Understanding Film Theory

Jill Nelmes (ed.), An Introduction to Film Studies

A cult is defined as “a group of people having religious beliefs or practices regarded by others as strange or as imposing excessive control over members” ( These practices and beliefs are usually embodied and imparted by some kind of leader whilst being reproduced collectively.

What are the different factors and circumstances that make people join cults and follow infamous leaders like Charles Manson or Jim Jones? How are these groups structured, how do they function and how do they affect their members? How do power relations, gender roles and individual identities play out in these social institutions?

In this seminar, we will take a look at the depiction of cults and new religious movements in literature. We will analyse a variety of texts (short stories, novels, films, plays) by taking different approaches to our study (sociological, psychological, gender studies).