Teaching German Literature Through Larp: A Proposition


  • Evan Torner




German, literature, game design, larp, adaptation, education, edu-larp


German Studies as a discipline aims to make the form and content of its literary heritage relevant to today’s undergraduate student. Yet traditional teaching methods of lecture and reading aloud do not emotionally engage them. Literature-based larps such as A Nice Evening with the Family (2007) and Inside Hamlet (2015) emotionally engage their participants with – and make an argument about – the major themes of their source texts, yet are too logistically complex for the modern university setting. Recent developments in nano-games and freeform, however, permit us to design games that directly address the scale and tight focus needed for the undergraduate foreign-language literature classroom. This article contends that games can be used to interpret literature in comparable ways to an analytic essay, and discusses two nano-games based on German literature already developed by University of Cincinnati students in Spring 2016: Unrequited (2016), an adaptation by Sarah B. of The Sorrows of Young Werther (1775) by J.W.G. Goethe, and Babble-On (2016), an adaptation by Ashton D. of Emine Sevgi Özdamar’s Mothertongue (1990). These games exhibit specific interpretations of the texts in question, inviting students to interact with those interpretations, and then emotionally react to both the games and the texts themselves.




How to Cite

Torner, E. (2016). Teaching German Literature Through Larp: A Proposition. International Journal of Role-Playing, (6), 55–59. https://doi.org/10.33063/ijrp.vi6.248