Modern German Literature Studies (NDL) works in close dialogue with the other disciplines of the Institute for Literature Studies, and deals with literary texts, principally in the German language, as well as with media, representations and interpretations relating to literature. The NDL concentrates on the broad historical period from around 1500 to the present. In addition to the interpretation of literary works, the NDL traces the transformation of its subject in the light of historical and media developments, including such areas as: the transition from pre-literary myth to individual literary work of art; classical and modern poetics, rhetorical and aesthetic theory; the construction principles of literary works; the development of literary-theoretical terms and methodologies; the position of literature in relation to the other arts and media (e.g. fine arts, music, theatre, audio drama, film); literature and the technological Modern; global literary developments; history of the material text and archivology; literature and epistemology; the history of science and scholarship.
In cooperation with the Institute for Linguistics, the NDL at Stuttgart University conducts in-depth analyses of individual literary texts and large text corpora. An important aspect of this collaboration is the work of the NDL in the field of Digital Humanities, which drives progress in the digital analysis and interpretation of literature.
These key fields are reflected in the research and teaching of the department. The departmental focus on the areas of material and digital text studies led directly to the foundation of the Stuttgart Research Centre for Text Studies (SRCTS). In cooperation with the SRCTS, the NDL supports a range of externally funded and exploratory research projects in these fields. An important aim and practice of Modern German Literature Studies is to introduce students to research, to help them develop original essays and theses, as well as to convey current research methods and practice.
The German Literature Archive Marbach (DLA) plays an important role in this endeavour. Many employees of the DLA also teach for the NDL at Stuttgart University, communicating material and archivological insights into the development of texts, as well as into the aesthetic and didactic opportunities provided by literary exhibitions. Together with the DLA, the NDL also conducts the International Marbach Summer School for Doctoral Students. In addition, the NDL at Stuttgart University is actively involved in public engagement, working closely with the Literaturhaus Stuttgart, theatres, publishers and other civic institutions, as well as with the International Centre for Culture and Technology (IZKT).
The NDL fosters several institutional and Erasmus partnerships with institutions and universities abroad, and undergraduate students, postgraduate students as well as teaching staff may make use of these to support their studies and research. These partnerships are concentrated in Europe (King’s College London, the universities of Padua, Pisa, Roma 3, Trento, Verona, Copenhagen, Luxemburg, Olsztyn, Trondheim), East Asia (Renmin University of China Beijing, Tongji University Shanghai) and Africa (Université de Ougadougou).