Aphoristic collections occupy a prominent place in the canon of German literature. One could argue that there were in fact two "Golden Ages" of the aphorism genre. In the first, around 1800, writers such as Lichtenberg, Goethe, or Klinger took an old tradition to a new height. In the second, around 1900, Nietzsche, Kafka, and Kraus wrote world literature in the form of German aphorism. The seminar will be organized as a historical and systematic survey of the genre within German literary history. Close readings will be informed by excursions into the poetics and theory of the aphorism.