Syllabus, Spring 2015

Weekly Assignments‑‑[For useful analytical vocabulary and ideas for discussion/exams/papers, click on hyperlinked "Weekly Key Terms and Topics" in Brackets Beside Weeks]

Background Reading in italics  and required readings in boldface.

 Chronology of Writers Studied in English 230

WEEK 1--The Olympian Gods and Heroic Humans: The Curse on the House of Atreus, Part I

[Weekly Key Terms and Topics]

Tues. 1/27 Course introduction--eras and genres covered, review of Bronze-Age & Classical Greek society, megaron houses vs. city-states, social roles, ancient functions of art and religion.

Homeric Hymns [700-300 B.C.E.] #1, #2, #5, & #7 pp. 1‑15, 47-55, 56-58.  Background:  Edith Hamilton, "Introduction to Classical Mythology," "Twelve Great Olympians,"& "The Two Great Gods of Earth" (1‑35, 47-63), or for Graves readers who are shaky on the gods, Vol. 1, 31-111 (you can skip the footnotes in any Graves reading and it's half as long).  NOTE: THERE IS A QUIZ ON THE GREEK GODS ON GOUCHERLEARN.  Take it and pass it before you try to read the hymns or they will make no sense to you.  One of the classical literature scholar's most important tasks is learning to think like people who understand the world in terms these dieties as real forces that make things happen.  For instance, if these words persuade you to change your mind about "pagan myths" and to start experimentally thinking like a Bronze Age or Athenian Greek, Athena has visited you and granted you strategic wisdom that will be crucial for passing this course.

Thurs. 1/29 : Aeschylus [525-456], The Orestia (trilogy) [458], Part One: "Agamemnon."  Background: Hamilton, "House of Atreus," "Trojan War" and "Fall of   Troy" (236-53, 178-201) or Graves II, 25-84.  Selections from Lattimore's Greek Lyrics: Archilochus of Paros (1‑6).


WEEK 2--The Olympian Gods and Heroic Humans: The Curse on the House of Atreus, Part II

[Weekly Key Terms and Topics]

Tues. 2/3: Aeschylus, Orestia: Part Two-- "Choephoroe" or "The Libation Bearers"    Selections from Lattimore's Greek Lyrics: Solon of Athens (18‑23); the Early Metrical   Inscriptions (31‑32); Alcman of Sparta (33‑36).

Thurs. 2/5 Aeschylus, Orestia: Part Three--"Eumenides."    Selections from Lattimore's Greek Lyrics:  Stesichorus of   Himera (36‑7). 


WEEK 3--Heroic Humans Struggling to Control their Fates in the City-State: Sophocles, Euripides.  Drama and Short-Form Lyrics as Cultural-Forming Mnemonic Devices

Agon of Euripides' tragedy vs. Aeschylus and Sophocles, and Aristophanes' comedy vs. the tragic poets--Aristotle's aesthetics & politics; Comic Healing: old comedy's personal satire & new comedy's "types"; eroticism & comedy.

Tues. 2/10: Sophocles [496-406], Oedipus the King [?429].  Background: Aristotle, Poetics on tragedy; Sophocles, Antigone [441]; Hamilton, "Thebes" (244‑67) or Graves II, 9-24.  Selections from Lattimore's Greek Lyrics:  Callinus of Ephesos (7), Pindar of Thebes (57‑63). 

Thurs. 2/12: Euripides [485 or 480-406], Medea [431].  Background Reading: Hamilton, "The   Quest of the Golden Fleece" (117‑30) or Graves Vol. 1, 323-48.  Selections from Lattimore's Greek Lyrics: Semonides of Amorgos (8-12), Praxilla of Sicyon (49), Corinna of Tanagra (50-53). 


WEEK 4--Comic Drama and Epic Singers: Dramas, Short-Form Lyrics and Long-Form Epics as Cultural-Forming Mnemonic Devices

Lyric mode & mental state; lyric personae & dramatic characters; poetic melos vs. "words."/ Homeric Epic & Oral-Formulaic Tradition:

Tues. 2/17:  Aristophanes [?445-385], Lysistrata [411]  Selections from Lattimore's Greek Lyrics: Sappho of Myteline (38‑42). 

Thurs. 2/19: Homer [oral tradition, ?1100-700; "Homer," c. 700?], epic formulae/epithets; Parry-Lord Hypothesis; parallel & embedded plot; allegory, extended simile, arete/excellence, energia, litotes, foreshadowing;  guest/host relation & gifts; gods & mortals.  Background: Aristotle, Poetics, tragedy vs. epic (the reading is hyperlinked).

Homer, Odyssey, Books 1-2-3.


WEEK 5--Homeric Epic (cont.)

Tues. 2/24:  Homer, Odyssey, Books 4-5-6-7. 

Thurs. 2/26: Homer, Odyssey, Books 8-9-10.  Click here for a brief discussion of the important change in narrative "voice" which you should observe in Books 9-12, during which Odysseus is the inscribed narrator and he is motivated by a desire to please/impress/deceive the Phaikian court, and most of all, its rulers, Arete and Alkinoos, who have the power to send him home to Ithaka.

WEEK 6--Homeric Epic (cont.)

Tues. 3/3: Homer, Odyssey, Books 11-12-13-14. 

Thurs. 3/5: Homer, Odyssey, Books 15-16-17. 


WEEK 7--Homeric Epic (cont.)

Tues. 3/10: Homer, Odyssey, Books 18-19-20-21 

Thurs. 3/12:  Homer, Odyssey, Books 22-23-24 


Thursday 5:00 PM to Saturday 12:00 PM (midnight), take the online midterm exam on GoucherLearn.  (Contact me if some circumstance makes this timing impossible and I will "turn on" the exam for you at a later time.)


March 14-22, Spring Break


<While we're on Spring Break, Alexander the Great conquers Persian Empire with Macedonian-led Greek armies, spreads Greek culture from Egypt to India and dies.  His generals divide the empire by warfare, and while they fight each other, Rome grows, taking most of the empire from the generals' heirs. ROMAN DATES OF OUR TEXTS RANGE FROM 84 B.C.E. [birth of Catullus] TO 127 C.E. [death of Juvenal]: background reading, Peter Green, "When the Roman Empire Didn't Stop," The New York Review of Books (5 March 2015) [a 9-page review of four books on Alexander's empire and the rise of Rome]--located on GoucherLearn.  Click here if you want to brush up on your Roman numerals.  Click here to refresh your memory of the  Chronology of Writers Studied in English 230

WEEK 8--Roman Themes and Genres: Lyric and Satire

City Life vs. Imperial Citizenship & Roman Receptions of Greek Literature:  Lyric--geographic & historical changes in post-C5; imperial thinking; Alexander the Great's empire & spread of Greek culture; Alexandrian neoteric poetry; coding emotions in verse; social satire in imperial society; manuscript "publication" among reading elites.

Tues. 3/24: Greek-Latin Transition: Alexander's Empire, Roman city-state vs. Greeks, Roman Empire; citizen vs. imperial subject.   Read Catullus [84-54 B.C.E.: the profane poems [#1-16, 21, 23, 25, 29, 35, 36, 37, 40, 45, 51, 63, 70, 72, 75, 76, 83, 85, 92, 93, and any others you dare to read.]   Background: Charlotte Higgins, "Catullus Still Shocks 2000 Years On: Lines from the Roman poet are at the centre of a court case - and many news organisations still dare not translate them," The Guardian, 24 November, 2009.

Thurs. 3/26:  Catullus II: the sacred poems  [#34, 61, 62, 63, 64.]


WEEK 9--Roman Satiric Verse Epistle and the Narrative Romance--click here for a short overview of our two representative satirists.

Appeal to popularity of a truly "mass culture," and to ruling elite taste as art's protection against censorship; codifying rules of art; Roman Invention & Adaptation: Satire--inclusive, Horatian satire of folly vs. exclusive, juvenalian satire of vice; moral center or appeal to ruling elite taste as art's protection against censorship; codifying rules of art: 

Tues. 3/31:  Horace [65-8 B.C.E.], Satires I.1, II.5, and II.3 [35 and 30 B.C.E.]; Juvenal [50?-127? C.E.], Satires I, [?120 C.E.].

Thurs. 4/2:   Horace, Epistles, Book II, number 1; Juvenal [50?-127? C.E.]  Satires VII [?120 C.E.].  X, and XI [?120 C.E.].


WEEK 10--The Invention of Pastoral Romance and the Cyclical Embedded Narrative

Tues. 4/7: Longus [fl. 2nd century C.E.], Daphnis and Chloe.

Thurs. 4/9: Ovid [43 B.C.E.-?17 C.E.], Metamorphoses [8 C.E.], Book 1 (3-44) and Book 3 (91-128) 

Week 11:  Cyclical Embedded Narrative, II

Tues. 4/14: Ovid, Metamorphoses, Book 6 (Arachne and Niobe, 208-225; Tereus, Procne, & Philomela, 230-43); 8 (Scylla & Minos, Cretan Labyrinth, Theseus & Ariadne, Daedalus & Icarus, Calydonian Boar, 292-320), Proteus & Erisychthion, 329-6). 

Thurs. 4/16: Ovid, Metamorphoses, Book IX (Hercules, Achelous, Nessus, and   Deinaira, 337-52); X (Orpheus and Euridice, 380-86); Book XI (Ceyx and Alcyon, 442-58), and XV (King  Numa, the teachings of Pythagoras, and the epilogue, 594-616 and 636).


WEEK 12--The Literate or "Secondary" Epic

Literature as a tool of nation-building and state-craft; "foundation texts" (Stanley Fish); empire and colonialism's anxieties.  Click here for an image of the "Capitaline 'Tabula Italica'," a marble bas-relief carving from Virgil's era of scenes from the Iliad and other epics of the Trojan war--it's only 10x11 inches, but amazingly constructed.  Click here for a brief history of the Dido and Aeneas stories before Virgil joined them, in Virgil's version, and in later English adaptations of Virgil, ending in Henry Purcell's C17 baroque opera, Dido and AeneasClick here to see a Web page that excerpts and links to passages from the Iliad that Virgil would have known in which Aeneas plays a role.)  For Emily Wilson's Times Literary Supplement review of Silvia Montiglio's From Villain to Hero: Odysseus in Ancient Thought (Ann Arbor, MI: U Michigan P, 2012), click here.  It will help you see how the character we have been reading about was understood in the centuries after Homer, and especially it may prepare you for how he will appear in the satires of Horace and in Virgil's Aeneid.  If, as you read, you are reminded of what you were doing as you wrote your midterm, you are right.

Tues. 4/21: Virgil [70-19 B.C.E.], Aeneid  [19 B.C.E.] Book 1 & 2

Thurs. 4/23: Virgil, Aeneid Books 3 & 4


WEEK 13-- [Now is the time, if you have not already done so, to email me a short note about your final paper topic, and to post that note to GoucherLearn so that your colleagues can help you think about it more creatively.  Writing is a social act that begins in personal engagement.  As an E. M. Forster character advises, "Only connect."  That is the key.]

Tues. 4/28:   Virgil, Aeneid Books 5 & 6

Thurs. 4/30: Virgil, Aeneid Books 7 & 8


Week 14--Please remember to fill out the online course evaluation.  Thank you.

Tues. 5/5: Virgil, Aeneid Books 9 & 10

Thurs. 5/7: Virgil, Aeneid Book 11 & 12

Week 14, Final Paper Conferences, various times]  Sign up by sending me an email for open time slots when you could meet with me.  Please give me more than one so that I can consolidate my schedule as efficiently as possible and so that, if someone else has sent an earlier email asking for a slot you want, you will give me an alternative that works for you.  You can sign up for individual times, but I encourage you to form group conferences with one or two other students.  Much of what I have to say at this point will be general in scope and would apply to anyone writing a paper for the course.  As you listen to each other working out your ideas, it should help improve your own paper's thinking and evidence.


ENGLISH 230 FINAL PAPERS DUE Monday, 5/11 or negotiate a better date, but don't make me guess.  Graduating seniors must turn in their work before senior grades are due, of couse. Click here to see the paper evaluation rubric which will be used to for papers written in this course.