Fields of Concentration


The Field of German, because of its narrow appeal, is one of the smallest Departments in the College. Yet if a man desires to learn German and German Literature and is willing to devote his main energies to study, he will not find the field lacking in worthwhile and enjoyable material. It is not a snap course, however, and takes rather more time than some fields.

If a man has had some German before coming to College his work will be found easier, but it is possible to start the language on coming to College. On the conclusion of two years of study, under the new course system, a man will be able to read German readily, and with some extra effort be able to write fluently. But a speaking knowledge can best be secured by actually visiting Germany, although the active German Club is of assistance in learning to talk.

The complete reorganization of the elementary courses, and the introduction of new middle-group courses, which goes into effect next year, should nullify some of the objections that concentrators have voiced in the past. The move to present a better comprehensive view of German culture takes the shape of a survey course in Literature, German 1, and new courses by Professor Nolte and Dr. Potter in the eighteenth century and the cultural background of Renaissance and Reformation. This may help to eradicate the common complaint of concentrators that they get bogged down in laborious translation work.

At the moment, the German department has a staff of recognized scholastic capacity but as teachers some of these men are as dull and uninspiring as they are learned and erudite. Cold and prosaic lecturers and tutors unconcerned with the progress of students in some cases tend to deaden the field. It is understood that certain faculty changes to be realized in the near future with to some extent obviate this difficulty.

As far as tutorial is concerned, the work covered in this way assumes increasing importance as the student advances. Classroom emphasis on translation and the mastery of the language and an absence of courses in certain periods, notably on the Reformation (though this will be taken up by Dr. Potter's new course) has heretofore made a thorough covering of the literary aspects and general background absolutely indispensable in tutorial. Concentrators find that, aside from personal limitations of a few men, tutorial is presented in a satisfactory though uninspiring fashion, and a gratifying freedom of choice and quantity of reading is allowed.


The average concentrator will do well to steer clear of the Department unless he has a burning fervor for German, but men with a genuine interest and ability will be able to do useful work in the field. There is a strong possibility, however, that the efficiency of the new introductory courses will bring students more rapidly to a knowledge which will allow them to enjoy the literature than has previously been the case.

Summary of Concentrators comments on men in the German Department: Walz, Howe, Lieder, Cawley older men in the department who are authorities in their field but tend to be rather uninspiring to undergraduates as lecturers. Starck--clear lecturer, con- genial. Heffner--stimulating, gives the literary angle. Nolte--good tutor (especially for divisional), knows his literature, material somewhat disorganized in German 6. Herrick--stimulating personality. Hawkes--progressive, interesting, good in composition courses. Cross--brilliant and interesting, the power of the Department. Vietor--good lecturer. Shelley--good younger tutor