Justice Responsibility and Consequence in 19th and 20th Century Fiction

What is the relation between human action and its consequences in fictional texts? It is this question which the advanced seminar revolves around. Fiction is full of responsibly and irresponsibly acting figures, who must deal with their decisions and the consequences thereof. We will look at displays of human behaviour, its justifications and legal implications, and at the results of this behaviour, trying to discern different patterns of choice-making and their consequences for fictional characters and the world they live in. In the focus will be questions of morality, responsibility, knowledge, scientific progress, and guilt.

Reading list: Samuel Taylor Coleridge, The Rime of the Ancient Mariner; Mary Shelley, Frankenstein; George Eliot, Adam Bede; Joseph Conrad, The Secret Agent; Michael Frayn, Copenhagen. Please buy the following editions, if possible: Frankenstein, Adam Bede and The Secret Agent: Penguin Classics; Copenhagen: Anchor Books. The Rime of the Ancient Mariner will be made availabe for download before the start of the semester. The seminar has a three-hour slot and will involve a substantial amount of small-group work and in-depth analysis. Students should be willing and ready to discuss texts with each other and with the group at large, as the class will have a decidedly interactive format.

Department III - Anglistik und Amerikanistik LMU München SoSe 2015