Locomotive Breath: Train Stories

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  • SS 14

Course Information

Nr. Kursbezeichnung Typ Zeit Raum DozentIn
154506 Locomotive Breath: Train Stories 2 PS Mo 12:15 - 13:45 R. 3.208 Piskurek

Course Description

It may not be obvious to those travelling on the S1, but trains and railway transport used to be emblems of progress and technology: when steam locomotives were introduced in Britain in the early 19th century, the face of travel and transportation had changed for good. Trains connected towns, ports and people, and opened up hitherto unknown dimensions of speed. While people’s reactions in those early days ranged from fascination and awe to outright fear, nowadays trains are often rather associated with some sort of nostalgia, with railway museums or Railroadiana as expressions of this longing for the past.
Whether people use trains to commute, stay at train hotels like the “Orient Express” or work and live around the railway, we can certainly speak of trains as distinctive cultural spaces and also of distinctive passenger identities. In this seminar, I should like to explore the history of the railroad in Britain (and also in its former colonies) and discuss the representation of trains in different texts in which they provide the setting. Among others, we are going to read Graham Greene’s Stamboul Train and Edith Nesbit’s The Railway Children, and watch Sidney Lumet’s Murder on the Orient Express (based on the Agatha Christie novel), David Lean’s Brief Encounter (based on the Noel Coward play), and Ken Loach's The Navigators. The final part of the seminar will be devoted to representations of the London Underground.

Required Reading

A Reader will be made available by the start of semester.


Course requirements will be discussed in the first session.


Lehramtsstudiengänge Angewandte Sprachwissenschaften/Angewandte Literatur-/Kulturwissenschaften
  • BA LA: 103
  • MA LA:
  • B.A.ALK: Kern 1c, 2bc Komp 1b
  • B.A.AS: Komp 2a
  • M.A.ALK:
  • M.A.AS:
  • LPO 2003:
    • GHR: 1e
    • GyGe: 1e, 4b
    • SP1. Fach: 1e
    • SP2. Fach:
    • BK: 1e
  • LPO 1994/2000: E1
  • LABG 2009:
    • G: 601
    • HRG: 403
    • GyGe/BK: 403
    • SP: