Around the Breakfast Table | Wittenberg University

I really feel like Luther. Martin Luther lived along with his college students. Within the aptly named Lutherhaus, they shared meals collectively, and the concepts generated within the classroom reappeared over dialog on the dinner desk.

This morning, three college students stopped by my desk—in our shared consuming area on the Colleg in Wittenberg, Germany—to speak to me about their papers. One other talked about that he had despatched me a brand new first web page whereas strolling in to get his meals, nonetheless barely awake. Most of them are evaluating Christopher Marlowe’s Dr. Faustus with Johann von Wolfgang Goethe’s Faust, and questioning who made the higher cut price with Mephistopheles, nominally a consultant of the underworld within the textual content, however extra actually a consultant of Faust’s interior longings. Almost all these college students assume Goethe’s Faust made the higher deal, and largely as a result of what this Faust wished in alternate was self-knowledge and the ability to all the time develop and study. Against this, Marlowe’s Faustus desires exterior energy, an influence that he shortly finds we can not management, as this energy depends on the whims of others, and may disappear as shortly as it's given. What's thrilling to me is that the scholars—at first rightfully a bit overwhelmed by the issue of this materials, significantly Goethe’s practically 400-page philosophical poem—are deeply partaking with it as they write their papers, and though it isn't said explicitly there, making connections to their very own lives.

After all, all of this feels much more significant as a result of it's taking place in Wittenberg. Germany. That is the place the actual Faust supposedly lived. The marker for his home is simply down the road from the Leucorea, the place our class is held. The Leucorea is what stays of THE Wittenberg College, the historic one our establishment is known as after and the place Luther taught, and the place each Marlowe’s and Goethe’s Faust train earlier than embarking on a brand new journey of understanding (or as my college students are arguing, lack thereof within the case of Marlowe’s Faustus.)

My college students are additionally taking a threat. They've chosen to take their research to a brand new place at a difficult time, and to make their studying not one thing contained to the classroom, however one thing that occurs 24/7. Strolling to class, ordering lunch, reserving a prepare to a mountaineering path in Saxony, Switzerland, scheduling a flight to Budapest, biking via city and alongside the paths that border the river Elbe, all of this (and extra!) is a studying expertise, typically a sophisticated one. Certainly, we even had an prolonged lesson on German desk manners, and located ourselves, regardless of all these guidelines and having to carry our forks in our left arms, having fun with the heat of fine dialog over a scrumptious 4 course meal.

The scholars on our research overseas program “Wittenberg in Wittenberg” have chosen Goethe’s deal. To make studying an intrinsic a part of every part they do. The expansion in these college students is already obvious. And I, as their getting older professor, have made the very best deal of all: feeling like Luther at 8 a.m. on a Thursday morning whereas partaking concepts on the breakfast desk and studying alongside my college students.

-Cynthia Richards, Ph.D.
Veler Endowed Chair in English
2022 Director, Witt in Wittenberg, Germany, Program

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