All posts by Sebastian Reimann

Introduction to Literature: Robert Coover’s “A Sudden Story”

By Sibylle Machat

Introduction to Literature. Fiction. The session on narrative perspectives – something that teachers often love, but first year literature students just as often dread (close to the horrors of metrical feet in poetry). Nevertheless, the syllabus calls for a discussion of either Franz Stanzel’s narrative situations, Gerard Genette’s narration and focalization, or both.

What can we do to make all of this at least a little exciting?

Sibylle Machat’s personal copy of Robert Coover’s “A Sudden Story.” In: Robert Shepard, Ed. Sudden Fiction. American Short-Short Stories. Gibb M. Smith: Layton, 1986.

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American Studies Blog Contest

“pen_mesh_bw” by Sean Biddulph is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

As we approach the 5th anniversary of the American Studies Blog (http://blog.asjournal.org/), we decided to celebrate by asking you – our readers – to participate in the joyful occasion of our first blog competition.

Although blogging has changed over the years, it’s still a great platform to voice your ideas and share content with people around the world. Now choose a topic that fits into at least one of three zeitgeisty categories and try your talents:

  • Access America (Popular Culture, History, and Current Events)
  • Best Books & Fabulous Films (Reviews and More)
  • Teaching Tools (Tips, Tricks, and Tools of the Trade)

And remember: The sky’s the limit.

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The Berlin Blockade

By Andreas Hübner

Berliners watch a Douglas C-54 Skymaster land at Tempelhof Airport, 1948

Seventy years ago, on May 12, 1949, the Berlin Blockade came to an end. Nowadays considered a cornerstone of the Cold War Era, the blockade had been initiated eleven months earlier by the Soviet military administration in response to the introduction of a new currency, the Deutsche Mark, in the American, British, and French occupation zones of Germany and the allied sectors of Berlin. The Soviets understood the D-Mark as a prelude to the establishment of a single economic unit and a new government in West Germany. Thus, to prevent the distribution of the currency and to force the Western coalition to abandon the city, the Soviet military administration began blocking West Berlin, halting all rail, road and barge traffic as well as cutting off gas and electricity supplies.
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Brevity is the Soul of Wit: Whipping up a Flash Fiction Collection

By Maryann Henck

Flash fiction is not only a fun and quick read, but also a fun and not-always-so-quick write. The key is to create a succinct story – ranging from 250 to 1000 words – that preferably focuses on one specific character and ends with a twist or epiphany for the character in question. In my creative writing seminar, “A Way with Words – Away with Words,” Rebecca rose to the flash-fiction challenge and composed a three-piece collection entitled The French Connection – an homage to the artsy and quirky characters that populate the Parisian landscape. The first instalment, “Belle Époque,” recounts the musings of a somebody from a small town who always dreamed of making it big.

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Teaching the Next Generation – A German Saturday School in the U.S.

By Christoph Strobel

It’s Saturday morning ten after nine. After a half hour drive, my two daughters and I pull into the parking lot outside a school that is situated in an affluent Boston suburb. We are among over 400 students (ranging from age 4 to 17), their parents, and about 40 faculty and staff members. Every Saturday morning, this building serves as the German Saturday School Boston (GSSB), founded in 1874 by the Boylston Schul-Verein.
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Every Story Tells a Picture or How to Vignette

By Maryann Henck

Angelia Velosa & Cristopher Gomez, Door 95 in the Rua Santa Maria – The arT of oPEn doORs/Projecto aRTe pORtes abErtas, Funchal, Madeira; Photo credit: Maryann Henck

In the age of social media, it’s the image that rules. Instagram is the perfect example: It not only feeds some people’s insatiable need to document and offer glimpses into their private lives but also caters to a certain audience’s desire to consume and experience these slices of life vicariously. Instagram refers to the images posted as “stories,” a designation that fits in perfectly with the proverb: Every picture tells a story. And stories are almost always subject(ed) to interpretation. In the case of these Instagram picture stories, often the only clue is a brief caption or hashtag.

But what if the focus were to be shifted and that proverb were to be reversed? Read more »