Romance Literature, Film, and Cultural Studies

Deutsche Version: Romanische Literatur-, Film- und Kulturwissenschaft

The Department of Romance Literatures at LMU Munich is dedicated to literary and cultural studies as well as the historic and methodological disciplines that constitute the subject matter – such as poetics, rhetoric, hermeneutics and semiotics. The curriculum focuses mainly on the historically, culturally, and medially determined constitution of literature and film and their aesthetic reflection in literary theory and critique.

A diverse, often revised and widely discussed range of instruments – consisting of philological, hermeneutical or semiological methods and techniques – is available for reading and apprehending ‘text' in general, thus forming the center of scientific practice.
Contemporary literary studies and linguistics have adopted and further developed these techniques, giving rise to theoretical and methodological disciplines such as Formalism, New Criticism, Structuralism and Aesthetics of Reception or Hermeneutics.

Romance Philology has above all been influenced by Russian, French and Italian structuralism. Through the discovery and application of the concept of ‘structure’, the central concepts of ‘text’ and ‘reading’ (i.e. the structural condition and the structural effect) have become transferable to ‘culture’ as a coherent object of scientific analysis: since then cultural phenomena can be read like literary texts. Literary and cultural studies want to emphasize and further proliferate this ‘pacemaker-function’ of literature.

Against this methodological background, literary studies need the historically established range of instruments of poetics (as the structural determination of the literary work), of rhetoric (as the systematic modeling of language through stylistic devices), of aesthetics (as the structural interweaving of world and language), as well as semiotics (as a general theory of signs). On this basis, literary studies allow us to disentangle the wickerwork of imaginary, symbolical, social and economic aspects that make up a culture and shape its forms of knowledge.

The Department of Romance Philology of the LMU has a historically evolved, methodically sharpened profile in the scientific interweaving of theory and practice, of interpretative procedures and cognitive interests. Its courses cover a wide range of epochs, genres and authors, which allows to fully meet the most recent cultural and scientific challenges. The students are put in the position to represent the subject matter in its topicality and its variety as well as to gain competence for professional practice.

The curricula of the institute treats literary, philosophical and scientific works from the Middle Ages to the present and breaks down into various different epochs and a large number of specific topics. This wide range of options invites students to further develop their individual interests and is enriched by additional courses on film.

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