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TU Chemnitz | Wintersemester 2022 / 2023

Stefan Heym in/and Exile

Stefan Heym in/and Exile


This course attempts to introduce students to a selection of novels by Stefan Heym, a Jewish-German writer who was born on 10th April 1913 in Chemnitz and died on 16th December 2001 in Ein Bokek, Israel. Heym’s uncompromising stance made him unpopular with a succession of political regimes. The National Socialists, the CIA, and the East German secret police all held files on him. He was Hitler's youngest literary exile; McCarthyism was to drive him from the USA whose citizen he had become in 1943; and even in what appeared his natural home – the first socialist state on German soil – he was to become the country's leading dissident. Students will read a selection of novels and short stories which Heym originally wrote in English as an American citizen and later. Apart from a thorough engagement with Heym’s novels, poem, and short stories, students will get involved in current research on Stefan Heym, especially regarding the question of the American style of writing.


As the main interest is placed on both the reading as well as the interpreting of a selection of Stefan Heym's novels and short stories, the focus of theoretical premises and paradigms will be on concepts such as exile, the dissident, the writer as a politically engaged spokesperson of his time, as well as the American style of writing of Stefan Heym. In addition, students will learn how to create an academic poster for a poster presentation (PL) which will be part of international projects on Stefan Heym at the end of the teaching period. An excursion to the City Library Chemnitz (which holds Stefan & Inge Heym's library) a literary walk through Chemnitz and other activities will round off the seminar.


module parts 1 and 2

Requirements for credits:

Regular attendance as well as reading and preparing the set texts for discussions is required as part of the Credit Points allocation. The format of this seminar will consist of oral presentations and discussions. Each student will give an oral report (approx. 15 minutes), chair a session or prepare questions for a discussion (PVL) and take an oral exam (15 minutes+ poster presentation: PL). Students will be encouraged to also explore their own creative writing skills as part of the class assignment with a possible publication in our creative writing journal Turning Pages and will be encouraged to attend the theatre performance of The Great Hanussen ('Der Große Hanussen' in the Schauspielhaus Chemnitz).

Set texts:

Defoe in Defense of the Queen (short stories), Hostages (novel), The Crusaders (novel), Lenz oder die Freiheit (film; DVD) as well as a selection of poems. All of the set texts will be available in the OPAL course.


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