Geschichte/n eines Findlings: The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser in Film and Text
Based on the multimedia program developed by Ms. Davis, this course will investigate representations of the mysterious Kaspar Hauser hi/story in politics, law, history, medicine, psychology and education, music, theater, art, literature, and film. Kaspar Hauser, a 19th-century foundling of unknown origins, suddenly appeared, as an adolescent, in the town of Nuremberg in 1828. He was said to have grown up by himself held for 12 years by unknown forces in a dark room in the forest. Attempts at educating and "civilizing" Kaspar were made by a prominent lawyer, Ludwig Feuerbach, and a teacher, Friedrich Daumer, until Kaspar was stabbed to death in 1833. An early and persistent theory, believed by a majority of the crowned heads of Europe during the 19th century and tested in 1996 by Spiegel in a DNA analysis, considers Kaspar the legitimate heir to the throne of Baden, exchanged soon after birth for another baby who died so that the morganatic line could succeed to the throne.
The multimedia application includes materials in film, art, and text, until now not readily accessible to researchers of Kaspar. The course focuses on issues of identity formation and its relation to language acquisition and the socialization processes of the historical Kaspar Hauser, and extends to international representations of this topos from the 19th century to today. Students are encouraged to pursue semester projects which merge their academic fields of interest. Technical help will be available to create Web or multimedia projects. Readings and viewing selections include texts by Kaspar, Feuerbach, Daumer; Freud, Mitscherlich, Swami Chinmayo; Gutzkow, Wassermann; poetry by Verlaine, Rilke, Trakl, Tucholsky; film and theatre on film by Hofmannsthal, Handke, Open Theatre, Herzog, Sehr, and Michael Landon; songs by Biermann, Mey, Vega; art by Brooks Gerloff and Fischer.