German Literature

General role of teaching in Literature

Literature is taught in six lessons per week. The role of literature lessons is to introduce you, the student, to the analysis of literary and other texts. Analysis of text examples are used to:

  • develop fundamental literary concepts,
  • introduce subject content and working methods which improve students' study skills,
  • teach academic skills,
  • train students to take part in academic discourse.

Particular emphasis is put on dealing with contemporary texts.


  • Above all, literature classes is intended to develop or maintain and promote a love of literature.
  • Students should recognise that every significant literary text also teaches self-awareness and knowledge of the world. This knowledge can be considered in relation to both general human and historical problems. The aim is to foster an inter-cultural comparison against the relevant cultural background of the students.
  • In literature classes, students can gain the skills needed to read the texts in detail and understand them hermeneutically, as well as deal with other forms of text-related academic perception and communication.
  • In addition, techniques for academic work and academic communication should also be practised in Literature lessons (e.g. quoting, references, using encyclopaedias, composing essays, contributions to discussions, short statements, presentations and speeches).
  • Students should understand narrative and dramatic plotlines, deal sensibly with fictionality and understand metaphorical and symbolic modes of expression.
  • The aim is also to gain media competence, such as by comparing reading experiences with films or plays based on literature.
  • The topics chosen are intended to link in with the students' interests and experiences.
  • You should read at least one 'full manuscript' (e.g. a novel or play).

Towards the end of the literature classes, you should be able to interpret literary texts independently using academic working methods, classify literary texts in broader historical and theoretical contexts and evaluate them appropriately.

Performance review

Students must show in tests and examinations that they are able to understand the structures of the texts presented, describe their language form, interpret them and take a position on them. The questions also give students an opportunity to display factual knowledge (e.g. on literary history, literary forms and features of forms) and to apply knowledge of methods.

The type and scope of the questions are based on the subject-specific requirements of the examination regulations for the Feststellungsprüfung (opens in new tab) . Two tests are taken in each of the first two semesters; in the second semester, one test can be replaced by an extended essay.