In late years there has been a tremendous revival of interest in the German language and literature which has come as the expected reaction to the apathy toward German letters which was hatred inspired. This resurrected interest has brought to mind at Harvard a glaring weakness in the German department in that no adequate survey course of German literature is offered the student.
Several reasons exist for instituting such a course. It would provide a foundation for men concentrating either in Germanic languages and literature or in History and Literature of Germany. Moreover, it would give men who have acquired some knowledge of the language an opportunity of getting a grasp of German literature as a whole. At present German 9 offers "a general view of German literature to the end of the Classical Period." That is the largest survey course. German 26a and 26b can be taken to supply the deficit in the nineteenth century and German 28 will bring the survey up to date, but a man not concentrating in German can ill afford to spend two and a half years getting this knowledge. German 24 is a complete survey course, but it is a study of German "Kultur," not literature alone, done in a half year. There is also no required reading in German.
A course similar to French 6 would be an excellent remedy for the situation. As in that case, there could be sections in both German and English, providing an adequate range to satisfy both the more and less advanced students. Moreover, the German sections would provide at least one regular undergraduate course conducted completely in German, of which there is none now. The English sections would stimulate the student who reads the language but does not understand spoken German rather than bore him the way the present translation courses do. They acquaint him with all the masterpieces of German literature and their influence rather than hold him responsible for meticulous translation of the works of a few authors. There are certainly men in the department at present able to conduct the course. Its addition to the curriculum would seem to benefit that increasing number of men who find an interest in things Germanic.