LIT 203: Origins of Literature
Spring 2007
Section 01: Mon/Fri, 12:30-1:50;
                 ACADEMIC 120

Ancient of Days (William Blake)

Brian T. Murphy
Parker 319-V
Ext. 1318
Office Hours
e-mail: bmurphy@Brian-T-Murphy.com

 
Creative Commons License This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.
 

Description

Objectives

Texts

Policies 

Assignments

 Grading 

Schedule

Links

Important Announcements and Updates: Click HERE
 

Print-friendly (MS Word) course outline here.
Other printable documents:

Model for Evaluation of Student Writing
 Works Cited page (Instructions & Sample)
Cover Page for Research Essays (Sample)
Revision and Editing Checklist
Essay Outline

"There was a time, perhaps, when authors could take it for granted that most of their readers had a wide knowledge of the Bible, as of the Greek and Roman classics. But this assumption [...] would be a doubtful one today."

—W. B. Fulghum, Jr., A Dictionary of Biblical Allusions in English Literature
 

 

DESCRIPTION:
This course is a sampling of significant Biblical and classical literature (Greek and Roman) as well as mythological literature. The emphasis will be on reading and discussing the origins of the allusions found in modern arts.

It is assumed that students have successfully completed the prerequisites for this course, English 101 and English 102, or their equivalent.  Therefore, students are expected to have the necessary background and experience in analyzing, discussing, and responding to literature, as well as the ability to conduct independent research and to write correctly documented research essays  using MLA format.

Students are cautioned that this course requires extensive reading, writing, and discussions; students not prepared to read  and to write on a regular basis and to take an active part in class discussions should not consider taking this course.

 

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OBJECTIVES:

1.  Students will carefully study The Epic of Gilgamesh and the biblical books of Genesis, Exodus, and Job, and understand the significance of these works and their role in Western civilization.

2.  Students will learn the origins of Greek drama, the Greek concept of tragedy, and examine the contribution to drama of Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides.

3.  Students will study The Odyssey, particularly the character of Odysseus, and his importance to Western culture and civilization.

4.  Students will analyze The Aeneid, focusing their attention on the character Aeneas and his attitude in meeting the challenges of starting a new civilization.

5.  Students will study the Metamorphoses by Ovid, and develop an understanding of his mythological tales.

 

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TEXTS:

Required:*

A modern version (English translation) of the Bible (Available used, starting at $0.35, at Amazon.com***).

Homer. The Odyssey. Trans. Robert Fagles. Penguin, 1990. ISBN 0140268863 (Available used, starting at $4.99, at Amazon.com***).

Hadas, Moses, ed. Greek Drama. New York: Bantam, 1983. ISBN 0553212214 (Available used, starting at $0.01, at Amazon.com***).

Virgil. The Aeneid. Trans. Robert Fitzgerald. Vintage Books, 1990. ISBN 0679729526 (Available used, starting at $3.89, at Amazon.com***).

Ovid. Metamorphoses. Trans. A. D. Melville. Introd. E. J. Kenney. Oxford U P, 1998. ISBN 019283472X (Available used, starting at $4.93, at Amazon.com***).

Supplemental readings and materials may be assigned at the instructor’s discretion.

Recommended:

Kirzner, Laurie G. and Stephen R. Mandell. The Concise Wadsworth Handbook. Boston: Thomson Heinle, 2006 (Available used, starting at $14.10, at Amazon.com***); or

Maimon, Elaine P. and Janice H. Peritz. A Writer’s Resource: A Handbook for Writing and Research. Boston: McGraw-Hill, 2003 (Available used, starting at $10.00, at Amazon.com***); or

another college English handbook covering grammar, writing, and MLA documentation.

A good college-level dictionary

Recommended additional texts:**

Ackroyd, Peter. The Fall of Troy. New York: Nan A. Talese, 2007.(Available used, starting at $3.96, at Amazon.com ***)†

Alexander, Caroline. The War that Killed Achilles: The True Story of Homer's Iliad and the Trojan War. New York: Viking, 2009. (Available starting at $16.45 at Amazon.com ***).†

Alter, Robert. The Five Books of Moses: A Translation with Commentary. New York: Norton, 2004. (Available used, starting at $21.91, at Amazon.com***).†

---.  The David Story: A Translation with Commentary of 1 and 2 Samuel. New York: Norton, 200. (Available used, starting at $11.32, at Amazon.com***).†

Armstrong, Karen. A Short History of Myth. New York: Canongate, 2005. (Available used, starting at $6.23, at Amazon.com***).

Atwood, Margaret. The Penelopiad: The Myth of Penelope and Odysseus. New York: Canongate, 2006. (Available used, starting at $7.01, at Amazon.com***).

Baricco, Alessandro. An Iliad. Trans. Ann Goldstein. New York: Knopf, 2006. (Available used, starting at $7.69, at Amazon.com***).

Barone, Sam. Dawn of Empire: A Novel. New York: William Morrow, 2007.

Bullfinch, Thomas. The Age of Fable. New York: Harper and Row, 1966. (Available used, starting at $1.00, at Amazon.com***).

Card, Orson Scott. "Atlantis." Keeper of Dreams. New York: Tom Doherty, 2008

Carson, Anne, trans.  An Oresteia. New York: Faber & Faber, 2009. (Available used, starting at $12.90, at Amazon.com***).†

Crumb, R., illus. The Book of Genesis. New York: Norton, 2009. (Available starting at $13.69 at Amazon.com***).†

Damrosch, David. The Buried Book: The Loss and Rediscovery of the Great Epic of Gilgamesh. New York: Holt, 2007. (Available starting at $6.88 at Amazon.com***).

Denby, David. Great Books: My Adventures with Homer, Rousseau, Woolf, and Other Indestructible Writers of the Western World. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1996. (Available used, starting at $1.37, at Amazon.com***).

Diamond, Jared. Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies. New York: Norton, 1999. (Available used, starting at $8.20, at Amazon.com***).

Dirda, Michael. Classics for Pleasure. Orlando, FL: Harcourt, 2007. (Available starting at $1.49 at Amazon.com***)

Fox, Robin Lane. The Classical World: An Epic History from Homer to Hannibal. 2007. (Available starting at $13.59 at Amazon.com ***)

Fulghum, W. B. A Dictionary of Biblical Allusions in English Literature. New York: Holt, Rinehart & Winston, 1965. (Available used, starting at $3.99, at Amazon.com***).

George, Margaret. Helen of Troy. New York: Viking, 2006 (Available used, starting at $17.38, at Amazon.com***).†

Goldstein, Jonathan. Ladies and Gentlemen, The Bible! New York: Riverhead Books, 2009.

Gould, Stephen Jay. I Have Landed: The End of a Beginning in Natural History. New York: Harmony Books, 2002. (Available starting at $1.78 at Amazon.com***)

Graham, Jo. Black Ships. New York: Orbit, 2008. (Available used, starting at $4.01 at Amazon.com***)†

Grossman, David. Lion’s Honey: The Myth of Samson. Trans. Stuart Schoffman. New York: Canongate, 2006 (Available used, starting at $11.10, at Amazon.com***).†

Hamilton, Edith. Mythology. New York: New American Library, 1969. (Available used, starting at $0.89, at Amazon.com***).

Holland, Tom. Persian Fire. New York: Doubleday, 2006. (Available used, starting at $13.79, at Amazon.com***).†

---. Rubicon. New York: Anchor, 2005. (Available used, starting at $8.73, at Amazon.com***).

Homer. The Aeneid. Trans. Robert Fagles. New York: Viking, 2006. (Available used, starting at $18.98, at Amazon.com***).†

Hughes, Bettany. Helen of Troy: Goddess, Princess, Whore. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2005. (Available used, starting at $29.78, at Amazon.com***).

Hunt, Patrick. Ten Discoveries that Rewrote History. New York: Plume, 2007.

Jacobs. A. J. The Year of Living Biblically. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2007.

Kallich, Martin, et al, eds. Oedipus: Myth and Drama. New York: Odyssey Press, 1968. (Available used, starting at $2.99, at Amazon.com***).

Kress, Nancy. "Unto the Daughters." Sisters in Fantasy. Eds. Susan Schwartz and Martin H. Greenberg. New York: Roc, 1995. Reprinted in A Beaker's Dozen. New York: Tor, 1998. 163-172.

Levin, Christopher. The Old Testament: A Brief Introduction. Trans. Margaret Kohl. Princeton and Oxford: Princeton U P, 2005.†

LeGuin, Ursula. Lavinia. Orlando, FL: Harcourt, 2008.

Maine, David. The Book of Samson. New York: St. Martins, 2006. (Available used, starting at $14.07, at Amazon.com***).

---.  Fallen. New York: St. Martins, 2005. (Available used, starting at $6.53, at Amazon.com***).

---.  The Preservationist. New York: St. Martins, 2004 (published as The Flood in Great Britain). (Available used, starting at $0.01, at Amazon.com***).

Mason, Zachary. The Lost Books of the Odyssey: A Novel. New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2010 (Available at Amazon.com for $16.20***).†

Mitchell, Stephen. Gilgamesh: A New English Version. New York: Simon and Schuster, 2004 (Available used, starting at $11.58, at Amazon.com***).†

Morrow, James. Bible Stories for Adults. New York: Harcourt Brace, 1996. (Available used, starting at $1.10, at Amazon.com***).

Nicolson, Adam. God’s Secretaries: The Making of the King James Bible. New York: HarperCollins, 2003. (Available used, starting at $3.70, at Amazon.com***).

Pelevin, Victor. The Helmet of Horror: The Myth of Theseus and the Minotaur. Trans. Andrew Bromfield. New York: Canongate, 2006. (Available used, starting at $9.50, at Amazon.com***).†

Philips, Marie. Gods Behaving Badly. Boston: Little, Brown, 2007.

Pinsky, Robert. The Life of David. 2006. (Available used, starting at $7.99, at Amazon.com***).†

Plotz, David. Good Book: The Bizarre, Hilarious, Disturbing, Marvelous and Inspiring Things I Learned When I Read Every Single Word of the Bible. New York: Harper/Harper Collins, 2009.†

Rosenberg, David. Abraham: The First Historical Biography. New York: Basic Books, 2006. (Available used, starting at $0.35, at Amazon.com***).†

---. A Literary Bible: An Original Translation. [New York ?]: Counterpoint, 2009. (Available used starting at $0.86 at Amazon.com***).†

---., and Harold Bloom. The Book of J. New York: Grove Weidenfeld, 1990.(Available used starting at $1.19 at Amazon.com***).†

Saramago, José. Cain. Trans. Margaret Jule Costa. Boston, New York: Houghton Mifflin, 2011. (Available starting at $14.87 at Amazon.com***).

---. The Gospel According to Jesus Christ. Boston: Mariner Books, 1994. (Available used starting at $3.79 at Amazon.com***).†

Saylor, Steven. Roma: The Novel of Ancient Rome. New York: St. Martin's, 2007. (Available used starting at $0.29 at Amazon.com***).†

Schweitzer, Darrell. "The Dragons of Eden." Analog Science Fiction and Fact May 2008: 80-1.

Shanower, Eric. Age of Bronze, Vol. 1: A Thousand Ships. Orange, CA: Image Comics, 2001. (originally published as Age of Bronze issues 1-9).

---. Age of Bronze, Vol. 2: Sacrifice. Orange, CA: Image Comics, 2005. (originally published as Age of Bronze issues 10-19).†

---. Age of Bronze, Vol. 3: Betrayal. Orange, CA: Image Comics, 2007. (originally published as Age of Bronze issues 20-24).†

Swenson, Kristin. Bible Babel: Making Sense of the Most Talked about Book of All Time. New York: Harper Collins, 2010.

Terry, Philip, ed. Ovid Metamorphosed. London: Vintage, 2001. (Available used, starting at $4.95, at Amazon.com***).

Thompson, Ruth Plumly. The Trojan War. Originally published in King Comics Nos. 34, 35, and 36 (January, February and March 1939).

Turtledove, Harry and Noreen Doyle, eds. The First Heroes: New Tales of the Bronze Age. New York: Tor, 2004.

Wilkinson, Philip and Neil Philip. DK Eyewitness Companions: Mythology. [New York?]: Dorling Kindersley, 2007.†

Winterson, Jeannette. Weight: The Myth of Atlas and Heracles. New York: Canongate, 2006. (Available used, starting at $6.01, at Amazon.com***).†

Wray, T. J. and Gregory Mobley. The Birth of Satan: Tracing the Devil’s Biblical Roots. 2006. (Available used, starting at $5.41, at Amazon.com***).†

Wright, Robert. The Evolution of God. New York and Boston: Little Brown, 2009.

 

*Note that all major reading selections for the semester are available online, as indicated by links (see Schedule, below, and Online Texts). However, students must have a copy of the appropriate text(s) with them for each class session, whether they have purchased the textbooks or copies printed from the Internet;  no excuses about computer or printer problems will be accepted.

** Recommended additional texts are not required purchases, and have not been ordered for the course; however, they provide—depending on the course— alternative readings, historical and cultural backgrounds, criticism, personal literary responses, or entertaining (irreverent, possibly sacrilegious) revisions. Students who find themselves becoming deeply interested in one or more of the required readings may find these interesting and/or useful. Texts indicated with a dagger (†) are only provisionally recommended, as I have not read these works yet, although they have in some cases received excellent reviews.

*** Prices listed at Amazon.com do not include shipping, and are accurate as of posting date only; no guarantees of prices or availability are express or implied§.

 

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CLASS POLICIES:
Attendance:
Students must not only attend every class, but also arrive on time, be prepared, and take an active part in class (see Participation, below). According to the College Catalog, "Students are expected to attend all class, clinical, laboratory, and studio sessions for the full duration of each instructional session."  Moreover, once students get to class, they are expected to stay in the classroom until the class is over. Leaving class early or getting up in the middle of class is considered disruptive behavior and should happen only in extreme emergencies. Students may be required to sign in each class session to verify their attendance. Students unable to attend class should contact the instructor regarding their absence in advance or as soon as they return to school.

Plagiarism and Cheating:
Plagiarism includes copying or paraphrasing another’s words, ideas, or facts without crediting the source; submitting a paper written by someone else, either in whole or in part, as one’s own work; or submitting work previously submitted for another course or instructor. Plagiarism, cheating, or other forms of academic dishonesty on any assignment will result in failure (a grade of zero) for that assignment and may result in further disciplinary action, including but not limited to failure for the course and expulsion from the College. Please refer to the Burlington County College Student Code of Conduct in your Student Handbook for additional information regarding plagiarism and College regulations.

Homework/Essay Submission:
All writing assignments must be received by the instructor on or before the due date, by the beginning of the class period, as indicated on the schedule, below. In the event of an unavoidable absence the day an assignment is due, the work may be emailed. Only work submitted as an email attachment, in MS Word format, and received before the end of the normal class period will be accepted.

Make-up Exams/Late Work:
All assignment deadlines and scheduled exam dates are provided at the beginning of the semester; therefore, late papers will not be accepted nor will make-up exams be offered, except under extraordinary circumstances with appropriate documentation. Excuses such as “crashed computers,” “lost flash drives,” or “empty printer ink cartridges” will not be accepted. It is suggested that all computer work be saved both on your computer’s hard drive and again on disk or removable storage device.

 

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ASSIGNMENTS:

ATTENDANCE AND PARTICIPATION (10%):
As this class will combine both lecture and discussion, students are expected to take an active part in class—joining in discussions and raising questions. Discussion is one of the best ways to clarify your understandings and to test your conclusions. Open discussion always involves personal exposure, and thus the taking of risks: your ideas may not be the same as your fellow students’ or even the instructor’s. Yet as long as your points are honest and supportable, they will be respected by all of us in the classroom. Questions, discussion, disagreement, and laughter are all encouraged in this class.

QUIZZES (15%):
With the exception of the first day, class may begin with a short (five- to ten-minute) quiz or writing assignment (response paper) on the reading(s) for the day, at the instructor’s discretion. Quizzes cannot be made up; if you miss a quiz due to absence or lateness, that grade will be regarded as a 0. At the end of the semester, the lowest quiz grade will be dropped.
Total number of quizzes during the semester will determine the point value of each; that is, if 16 quizzes are given (lowest quiz grade dropped), each quiz is worth up to one full point.

PRESENTATIONS (15%):
At the beginning of the semester, all students will select one of the works from the list provided (see Presentation Topics, below) to present to the class; each presentation must be ten to fifteen minutes long, and demonstrate familiarity with the selection, its context, and its significance. Ideally, presentations will also be open-ended, leading into class discussions with questions, major themes, or topics for further thought.

ESSAYS (2 @ 15%):
Students will complete at least two essays during the semester, on
topics selected from the list of suggestions provided (see Essay Topics, below) or developed in consultation with the instructor. Essays must be at least five to seven (5-7) pages, typed (12-point Times New Roman), double-spaced, with a cover page and Works Cited page (cover page and Works Cited do not count toward the five-page requirement); include a minimum of three authoritative sources, properly documented (utilizing MLA format for documentation); and be stapled when submitted. Essays should be grammatically correct, free of errors in mechanics, grammar, usage, spelling, and documentation, and will be evaluated according to the Model for Evaluation of Student Writing. Please refer to Writing About Literature, Writing a Literature Paper, and Getting an A on an English Paper as well as the Revising and Editing Checklist for additional assistance.

 

EXAMS (2 @ 15%):
Students will complete two ninety-minute exams: a midterm examination at the end of the first half of the semester, and a final examination during Finals Week. These exams will each evaluate students’ recognition and comprehension of material studied during the previous weeks, covering specific texts, literary themes, and cultural and historical backgrounds. Exams may combine objective questions, short answers, and essays.

 

EXTRA CREDIT (various opportunities, at 12 points each):
Students will be notified of opportunities for extra credit, including attendance at various cultural events related to the class ("Recommended Fieldtrips"). If students attend one or more of these events, and provide evidence of attendance (ticket stub, program, et cetera) along with a typed one- to two-page personal response  (review, analysis, reflection, critique, et cetera), they can receive up to two points per event added to their final average. Recommended Fieldtrip/Extra Credit opportunities previously available have included:

AthensSparta.
Dec. 6, 2006—May 12, 2007.
Onassis Cultural Center. Olympic Towers, 645 Fifth Avenue, New York, New York.
Tel. (212) 486-4448
www.onassisusa.org
info@onasssisusa.org

Seamus Heaney’s The Burial at Thebes (based on Sophocles’ Antigone).
 January 25—February 12, 2007.
 LaMaMa. 74A East Fourth Street, New York, New York.
Tel. (212) 475-7710
www.lamama.org

tempOdyssey: "fuses the epic drudgery of temp work with the epic mythology of The Odyssey. It’s a comedy. It’s a love story. It’s a horror story. And much, much more."
Previews February 22, 23 at 2pm and 8pm
through March 18, 2007
New Jersey Repertory Company
179 Broadway, Long Branch, New Jersey.
www.newjerseyrep.org
732-229-3166

Children of Eden: The Musical
Narberth Community Theatre
March 2, 3, 9, 10, 16 & 17 at 8pm; March 4 & 11 at 2pm
Tickets: $17 Adults / $14 Seniors (62+) and Juniors (under 18)
United Methodist Church, at the corner of Essex and Price Avenues, Narberth, PA 19072
Webmaster@narberthcommunitytheatre.org
(610) 352-4823

The Oresteia by Aeschylus
Access Theater (380 Broadway, 4th Floor, at White Street, New York, NY)
February 14 through March 10; all shows are at 8:00, and tickets are $18 general admission
See Access Theater Information, Buy Tickets, or call (212) 868-4444 for more information.
*See also, Jason Zinoman’s New York Times review here.

Art After Five Tour: Mythology from the Renaissance to 1850 at the Philadelphia Museum of Art
Friday, March 9, 5:00 PM
Free after Museum admission

Spotlight on the Museum’s Collections: Moses Striking the Rock by Jan Steen at the Philadelphia Museum of Art
Thursday & Friday, March 8 and 9 at 11:00 AM; Sunday, March 1 at 12:30 PM

Richard Strauss’ Die Ägyptische Helena at The Metropolitan Opera, Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, New York.
Starring Deborah Voigt. Directed and designed by David Fielding. Conducted by Fabio Luisi.
Seven performances only: March 15, 19, 23, 27, 31 at 8:00; matinees April 4 and 7.
Tickets range from $26 (Family Circle) to $275 (Orchestra Premium). Visit the Met Box Office, MetOpera.org, order online, or call 212-362-6000.
Also broadcast live on Sirius Radio.

Aeschylus’s Prometheus Bound at the Classic Stage Company, through April 14
136 East 13th Street,  New York, NY (East Village)
212-352-3101
Directed by James Kerr
Starring David Oyelowo

A special staged reading: The Iliad, Parts I, II and III by Homer
Presented by the Aquila Theatre Company
at the Classic Stage Company
136 East 13th Street,  New York, NY (East Village)
212-352-3101
Translated by Stanley Lombardo
Created by Peter Meineck and Robert Richmond
 April 17 & 18, 2007

Handel’s Giulio Cesare at The Metropolitan Opera, Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, New York.
Starring David Daniels and Ruth Ann Swenson. Directed by Harry Bicket.
Seven performances only: April 6, 10, 13, 17, 21 at 8:00; matinees April 24 and 27.
Tickets range from $15 (Family Circle) to $295 (Orchestra Premium). Visit the Met Box Office, MetOpera.org, order online, or call 212-362-6000.
Also broadcast live on Sirius Radio.
New information: operagoers can purchase an orchestra ticket to Handel’s Giulio Cesare at The Metropolitan Opera, Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts for $137.50 (normally $205), and receive a free VIP pass to the new Greek and Roman Galleries at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Fifth Avenue & 82nd Street, New York (212-535-7710 or metmuseum.org).

Stories in Stone: Conserving Mosaics of Roman Africa, through April 30
Getty Villa, 17985 Pacific Coast Highway
Pacific Palisades, CA
310-440-7300 or getty.edu

Children of Eden: The Musical at the Bridge Players Theatre Company
Broad Street Methodist Church, 36 East Broad Street, Burlington, NJ
The only shows that will count for extra credit (i.e., before the Final Exam!) are May 4th at 8:00pm, May 5th at 8:00pm, May 6th at 3:00pm
Tickets are $18.00 for adults, $9.00 children 12 and under (general seating only)
For more information: thebridgeplayers@aol.com, www.bridgeplayerstheatre.com, or 856-303-7620.

From the Land of the Labyrinth: Minoan Crete, 3000—1100 B.C.
March 13—September 13, 2008.
Onassis Cultural Center. Olympic Towers, 645 Fifth Avenue, New York, New York.
Tel. (212) 486-4448
www.onassisusa.org
info@onasssisusa.org

 

 

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GRADING:
Final grades will be determined as follows:

Attendance/Class Participation

10%

Quizzes/Response Papers

15%

Presentation

15%

Essays (2 @ 15%)

30%

Midterm Exam

15%

Final Exam

15%

Extra Credit (if any) will be added to the final total.

Final Average earned will determine the grade received for the course, as follows:

Final Percentage

Final Grade

90-100

A

85-89

B+

80-84

B

75-79

C+

70-74

C

60-69

D

0-59

F

 

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SCHEDULE: Projected Schedule of Readings and Assignments
Note:
All readings below are required, and must be completed by the day indicated; the only exceptions are those indicated with an asterisk (*), which are only recommended additional readings or resources.

Note: This schedule is subject to revision according to the Academic Calendar for the semester, school closings due to inclement weather or other reasons, and the progress of the class.

Blue text indicates links to assignments, resources, or online versions of texts (Note: While every effort is made to verify the accuracy and usefulness of these links and their contents, no guarantees are made. Please notify me of any broken or outdated links at bmurphy@Brian-T-Murphy.com).

 

 

Important Dates:

Last Day to Add: Thu. 25 Jan.
Last Day to Drop: Thu. 1 Feb.
Spring Break:  Mon. 5 Mar.–Sun. 11 Mar.
Last Day for "W": Fri. 30 Mar.
"Spring Holiday":  Fri. 6 Apr.
Final Exam: Mon. 7 May, 12:20-2:20
Graduation: Sat. 19 May

 

Session 1: Fri. 19 Jan.
Class Introduction; Selections for Class Presentations

Session 2: Mon. 22 Jan.
The Epic of Gilgamesh (handout)
*see also, Summary of Gilgamesh:  Lipkowitz, Ina, Motifs, Themes, and Symbols in the Primeval Cycle (Genesis 1:11-11:32) (PDF)

*Recommended reading:

Barone, Sam. Dawn of Empire: A Novel. New York: William Morrow, 2007.

Blakeslee, Sandra. "Ancient Crash, Epic Wave." New York Times 14 Nov. 2006: F1, F4.

Card, Orson Scott. "Atlantis." Keeper of Dreams. New York: Tom Doherty, 2008

Damrosch, David. The Buried Book: The Loss and Rediscovery of the Great Epic of Gilgamesh. New York: Holt, 2007, esp. Chapter 6: "At the Limits of Culture." (198-235.

Diamond, Jared. Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies. New York: Norton, 1999: "Part Two: The Rise and Spread of Food Production" (83-191) and "Part Three: From Food to Guns, Germs, and Steel" (183-292), esp. "Blueprints and Borrowed Letters: The Evolution of Writing." (215-238).

Feeley, Gregory. "Giliad." The First Heroes: New Tales of the Bronze Age. Eds. Harry Turtledove, and Noreen Doyle, eds. New York: Tor, 2004. 252-291.

Friesner, Esther M. "Last Man Standing." Fantasy & Science Fiction Jan. 2005: 135-158.

Hunt, Patrick. "Ninevah’s Assyrian Library: The Key to Mesopotamia." Ten Discoveries that Rewrote History. New York: Plume, 2007. 45-62.

Wright, Robert. "Gods of the Ancient States." The Evolution of God. New York and Boston: Little Brown, 2009. 70-95.

Session 3: Fri. 26 Jan.
The Epic of Gilgamesh  continued

Session 4: Mon. 29 Jan.
Genesis (*see also Genesis King James version)

*Recommended reading:

Cosby, Bill. "The Missing Pages." I Didn't Ask to Be Born (But I'm Glad I Was). New York: Center Street, 2011. 63-97. Print.

Denby, David. "The Old Testament." Great Books: My Adventures with Homer, Rousseau, Woolf, and Other Indestructible Writers of the Western World. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1996. 156-170.

Goldstein, Jonathan. Ladies and Gentlemen, The Bible! New York: Riverhead Books, 2009.

Gould, Stephen Jay. "The First Day of the Rest of Our Life." I Have Landed: The End of a Beginning in Natural History. New York: Harmony Books, 2002. 257-270.

---.  "The Narthex of San Marco and the Pangenetic Paradigm." I Have Landed: The End of a Beginning in Natural History. New York: Harmony Books, 2002. 271-284.

---. "The Pre-Adamite in a Nutshell." I Have Landed: The End of a Beginning in Natural History. New York: Harmony Books, 2002. 130-146.

Hogan, James P. "Making Light." The Ascent of Wonder: The Evolution of Hard SF. Eds. David G. Hartwell and Kathryn Cramer. New York: Tor, 1994. 818-825.

Hunt, Patrick. "Dead Sea Scrolls: The Key to Biblical Research." Ten Discoveries that Rewrote History. New York: Plume, 2007. 135-160.

Jacobs. A.J. The Year of Living Biblically. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2007.

Kress, Nancy. "Unto the Daughters." Sisters in Fantasy. Eds. Susan Schwartz and Martin H. Greenberg. New York: Roc, 1995. Reprinted in A Beaker's Dozen. New York: Tor, 1998. 163-172.

Levin, Christopher. The Old Testament: A Brief Introduction. Trans. Margaret Kohl. Princeton and Oxford: Princeton U P, 2005.†

Maine, David. The Preservationist. New York: St. Martins, 2004.

---. Fallen. New York: St. Martins, 2006.

Milton, John. Paradise Lost, especially Book VII, Book VIII, and Book IX.

Morrow, James. "Bible Stories for Adults, No. 17: The Deluge." Bible Stories for Adults. New York: Harcourt Brace, 1996. 1-14.

Rosenberg, David. Abraham: The First Historical Biography. New York: Basic Books, 2006.†

---., and Harold Bloom. The Book of J. New York: Grove Weidenfeld, 1990.†

Schweitzer, Darrell. "The Dragons of Eden." Analog Science Fiction and Fact May 2008: 80-1.

*Recommended listening:

Haydn, Richard. The Creation.

*Recommended viewing:

The Bible: In the Beginning. Dir. John Huston. Perf. John Huston, George C. Scott, Ava Gardner. Twentieth Century Fox, 1966.

Children of Eden: The Musical at the Narberth Community Theatre
March 2, 3, 9, 10, 16 & 17 at 8pm; March 4 & 11 at 2pm
Tickets: $17 Adults / $14 Seniors (62+) and Juniors (under 18)
United Methodist Church, at the corner of Essex and Price Avenues, Narberth, PA 19072
Webmaster@narberthcommunitytheatre.org
(610) 352-4823

The Big Bang (not currently playing, locally or otherwise)

"The Simpsons Bible Stories: Adam and Eve." (Episode AABF14) The Simpsons. Twentieth Century Fox, 1999.

Session 5: Fri. 2 Feb.
Exodus (*see also Exodus King James version)

*Recommended reading:

Morrow, James. "Bible Stories for Adults, No. 31: The Covenant." Bible Stories for Adults. New York: Harcourt Brace, 1996. 119-132.

*Recommended viewing:

The Ten Commandments. Dir. Cecil B. DeMille. Perf. Charlton Heston, Yul Brynner, Anne Baxter. Paramount Pictures, 1956.

The Prince of Egypt. Dir. Brenda Chapman, Stephen Hickner, Simon Wells. Perf. Val Kilmer, Ralph Fiennes, Michelle Pfeiffer. DreamWorks, 1998.

"The Simpsons Bible Stories: Moses." (Episode AABF14) The Simpsons. Twentieth Century Fox, 1999.

"Homer vs. Lisa and the 8th Commandment." (Episode 7F13) The Simpsons. Twentieth Century Fox, 1996.

Session 6: Mon. 5 Feb.
Exodus continued.

Session 7: Fri. 9 Feb.
Job  (*see also JobKing James version)

*Recommended viewing:

"The Simpsons Bible Stories: D. vs. G2: Stone Cold." (Episode AABF14) The Simpsons. Twentieth Century Fox, 1999.

"The Simpsons Bible Stories: King Solomon." (Episode AABF14) The Simpsons. Twentieth Century Fox, 1999.

Note: These two episodes have nothing to do with Job, but are still Old Testament stories.

Session 8: Mon. 12 Feb.
Introduction to Greek Tragedy;
Aeschylus, Agamemnon
*see also, Summary and Analysis of Agamemnon
*and 25-Question Quiz on
Agamemnon

*Recommended reading:

Ackroyd, Peter. The Fall of Troy. [New York?]: , 2007.†

Denby, David. "Aeschylus and Euripides." Great Books: My Adventures with Homer, Rousseau, Woolf, and Other Indestructible Writers of the Western World. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1996. 131-144.

Hunt, Patrick. "Thera: The Key to the Aegean Bronze Age." Ten Discoveries that Rewrote History. New York: Plume, 2007. 161-182.

---. "Troy: The Key to Homer and Greek History." Ten Discoveries that Rewrote History. New York: Plume, 2007. 21-44.

Shanower, Eric. Age of Bronze, Vol. 1: A Thousand Ships. Orange, CA: Image Comics, 2001. (originally published as Age of Bronze issues 1-9).

---. Age of Bronze, Vol. 2: Sacrifice. Orange, CA: Image Comics, 2005. (originally published as Age of Bronze issues 10-19).†

---. Age of Bronze, Vol. 3: Betrayal. Orange, CA: Image Comics, 2007. (originally published as Age of Bronze issues 20-24).†

Thompson, Ruth Plumly. The Trojan War. Originally published in King Comics Nos. 34, 35, and 36 (January, February and March 1939).

Tilton, Lois. "The Matter of the Ahhiyans." The First Heroes: New Tales of the Bronze Age. Eds. Harry Turtledove, and Noreen Doyle, eds. New York: Tor, 2004. 319-332.

Yeats, W. B. "Leda and the Swan"

*Recommended fieldtrip (Extra Credit):

AthensSparta. Onassis Cultural Center. Olympic Towers, 645 Fifth Avenue, New York, New York.
Dec. 6, 2006—May 12, 2007.
Tel. (212) 486-4448
www.onassisusa.org
info@onasssisusa.org

The Oresteia by Agamemnon. Access Theater. 380 Broadway, 4th Floor, at White Street, New York, New York.
February 14 through March 10; all shows are at 8:00, and tickets are $18 general admission
See Access Theater Information, Buy Tickets, or call (212) 868-4444 for more information.
*See also, Jason Zinoman’s New York Times review here.

Session 9: Fri. 16 Feb.
Aeschylus, Agamemnon continued.

Session 10: Mon. 19 Feb.
Sophocles, Oedipus the King
*see also, Summary and Analysis of Oedipus
*and 25-Question Quiz on
Oedipus

*Recommended reading:

Denby, David. "Sophocles." Great Books: My Adventures with Homer, Rousseau, Woolf, and Other Indestructible Writers of the Western World. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1996. 106-116.

*Recommended fieldtrip (Extra Credit):

Seamus Heaney’s The Burial at Thebes (based on Sophocles’ Antigone).  January 25—February 12, 2007.  LaMaMa. 74A East Fourth Street, New York, New York.
Tel. (212) 475-7710
www.lamama.org

Session 11: Fri. 23 Feb.
Class cancelled due to power outage
Sophocles, Oedipus the King continued.

Session 12: Mon. 26 Feb.
Sophocles, Oedipus the King continued.

Session 13: Fri. 2 Mar.
Euripides, Medea
*see also, Summary and Analysis of Medea
*and 25-Question Quiz on
Medea

*Recommended reading:

Denby, David. "Aeschylus and Euripides." Great Books: My Adventures with Homer, Rousseau, Woolf, and Other Indestructible Writers of the Western World. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1996. 131-144.

Wolfe, Gene. "The Lost Pilgrim." The First Heroes: New Tales of the Bronze Age.. Eds. Harry Turtledove, and Noreen Doyle, eds. New York: Tor, 2004. 19-42.

*Recommended viewing:

Jason and the Argonauts. Dir. Don Chaffey. Perf. Todd Armstrong, Nancy Kovack, Douglas Wilmer. Visual effects Ray Harryhausen. Columbia Pictures, 1963.

Mon. 5 Mar.–Sun. 11 Mar.
Spring Break (no class)

Session 14: Mon. 12 Mar.
Euripides, Medea  continued
Essay 1 Due

Session 15: Fri. 16 Mar.
Midterm Exam

Session 16: Mon. 19 Mar.
Homer, The Odyssey
*See also, Summary of The Odyssey illustrated (with cartoons)
*and Summary and Analysis of The Odyssey
*and 25-Question Quiz on
The Odyssey
*and an ultra-condensed version of The Odyssey from Book-a-Minute Classics
*Recommended reading:

Atwood, Margaret. The Penelopiad: The Myth of Penelope and Odysseus. New York: Canongate, 2006.

Bordewich, Fergus M. "Odyssey’s End?: The Search for Ancient Ithaca." Smithsonian.com. 3 Sep. 2008. <http://www.smithsonianmag.com/people-places/ithaca.html>.

Denby, David. "Homer II." Great Books: My Adventures with Homer, Rousseau, Woolf, and Other Indestructible Writers of the Western World. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1996. 76-87.

Gatapoulus, Derek. "Engineers to Help Find Homer’s Ithaca." Yahoo! News. 26 March 2007. 30 March 2007 <http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20070326/ap_on_sc/greece_finding_ithaca>.

Morrow, James. "Arms and the Woman." Bible Stories for Adults. New York: Harcourt Brace, 1996. 215-243.

Odysseus Unbound: The Search for Homer’s Ithaca. 31 March 2007 <http://www.odysseus-unbound.org/>.

Shanower, Eric. Age of Bronze, Vol. 1: A Thousand Ships. Orange, CA: Image Comics, 2001. (originally published as Age of Bronze issues 1-9).

---. Age of Bronze, Vol. 2: Sacrifice. Orange, CA: Image Comics, 2005. (originally published as Age of Bronze issues 10-19).†

---. Age of Bronze, Vol. 3: Betrayal. Orange, CA: Image Comics, 2007. (originally published as Age of Bronze issues 20-24).†

Tennyson, Alfred, Lord. "Ulysses"

Thompson, Ruth Plumly. The Trojan War. Originally published in King Comics Nos. 34, 35, and 36 (January, February and March 1939).

Wilford, John Noble. "Homecoming of Odysseus May Have Been in Eclipse." New York Times 24 June 2008: F3.

*Recommended listening:

Strauss, Richard. Die Ägyptische Helena.

*Recommended viewing:

MasterDirtyP. "The Odyssey."

Pictures of The Odyssey from The Liebig Extract of Meat Company, c. 1914

"Tales from the Public Domain: Homer’s Odyssey." (Episode DABF08) The Simpsons. Twentieth Century Fox, 2002.

tempOdyssey at the New Jersey Repertory Company
("fuses the epic drudgery of temp work with the epic mythology of The Odyssey. It’s a comedy. It’s a love story. It’s a horror story. And much, much more.")
 Previews February 22, 23 2007 at 2pm and 8pm; runs through March 18, 2007. www.newjerseyrep.org.

The Odyssey. Dir. Andrei Konchalovsky. Perf. Armand Assante, Isabella Rossellini, Bernadette Peters, Eric Roberts, Christopher Lee, Vanessa Williams. NBC/Hallmark Home Entertainment, 1997.

29 movie versions of Homer (Iliad or Odyssey) here, ranging from L’Île de Calypso: Ulysse et le géant Polyphème (1905) to Troy (2004)

*Recommended fieldtrip (Extra Credit):

Richard Strauss’ Die Ägyptische Helena at The Metropolitan Opera, Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, New York.
Starring Deborah Voigt. Directed and designed by David Fielding. Conducted by Fabio Luisi.
Seven performances only: March 15, 19, 23, 27, 31 at 8:00; matinees April 4 and 7.
Tickets range from $26 (Family Circle) to $275 (Orchestra Premium). Visit the Met Box Office, MetOpera.org, order online, or call 212-362-6000.
Also broadcast live on Sirius Radio.

Session 17: Fri. 23 Mar.
Homer, The Odyssey continued.

Session 18: Mon. 26 Mar.
Homer, The Odyssey continued.

Session 19: Fri. 30 Mar.
Homer, The Odyssey continued.

Session 20: Mon. 2 Apr.
Virgil, The Aeneid
*See also, Virgil Study Guide

*and 25-Question Quiz on The Aeneid

*Recommended reading:

Denby, David. "Virgil." Great Books: My Adventures with Homer, Rousseau, Woolf, and Other Indestructible Writers of the Western World. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1996. 146-155.

Graham, Jo. Black Ships. [New York?]: Orbit, 2008.†

Hunt, Patrick. "Pompeii: The Key to Roman Life." Ten Discoveries that Rewrote History. New York: Plume, 2007. 135-160.

Ker, Katharine and Debra Doyle. "The God Voice." The First Heroes: New Tales of the Bronze Age. Eds. Harry Turtledove, and Noreen Doyle, eds. New York: Tor, 2004. 196-208.

LeGuin, Ursula. Lavinia. Orlando, FL: Harcourt, 2008.

Macaulay, Alastair. "His Motives May Vary, but Alas, Acteon Is Doomed to Suffer the Same Fate." New York Times 17 March 2010: C3.

McGrath, Charles. "Translating Virgil’s Epic Poem of Empire." New York Times 30 Oct. 2006: E1. (Purchase required)

Rothstein, Edward. "Out of Epic Wars, Another Epic Is Born, the One Called Civilization." New York Times 11 Dec. 2006: E3.

*Recommended viewing:

Pictures of The Aeneid The Liebig Extract of Meat Company, c. 1927

*Recommended fieldtrip (Extra Credit):

Handel’s Giulio Cesare at The Metropolitan Opera, Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, New York.
Starring David Daniels and Ruth Ann Swenson. Directed by Harry Bicket.
Seven performances only: April 6, 10, 13, 17, 21 at 8:00; matinees April 24 and 27.
Tickets range from $15 (Family Circle) to $295 (Orchestra Premium). Visit the Met Box Office, MetOpera.org, order online, or call 212-362-6000.
Also broadcast live on Sirius Radio.

Fri. 6 Apr.
Spring Holiday (no class)

Session 21: Mon. 9 Apr.
Virgil, The Aeneid continued: read at least through Book VI.

Session 22: Fri. 13 Apr.
Virgil, The Aeneid continued: finish the entire text, if you have not already done so (through Book XII).

Session 23: Mon. 16 Apr.
Virgil, The Aeneid continued.

Session 24: Fri. 20 Apr.
Essay 2 Due Due Date changed to 30 April

Ovid, Metamorphoses at least Books I-VI
Read everything, but read the following especially carefully:

Book I

Book II

Book III

Book IV

Book V

Book VI

*See also, Outline of Ovid’s Metamorphoses

*See also, The Metamorphoses by Ovid: Engravings by Johannes Baur (1703)

*See also, Larry A. Brown’s Ovid’s Metamorphoses: Introduction and Commentary

*Recommended reading:

Dirda, Michael. "Ovid." Classics for Pleasure. Orlando, FL: Harcourt, 2007. 295-7.

Hammer, Larry. "The Mymidons." The First Heroes: New Tales of the Bronze Age. Eds. Harry Turtledove, and Noreen Doyle, eds. New York: Tor, 2004. 235-248.

Philips, Marie. Gods Behaving Badly. Boston: Little Brown, 2007.†

Terry, Philip, ed. Ovid Metamorphosed. London: Vintage, 2001.

Session 25: Mon. 23 Apr.
Ovid, Metamorphoses continued: at least through Book X, especially:
Book VII

*Recommended reading:

Wolfe, Gene. "The Lost Pilgrim." The First Heroes: New Tales of the Bronze Age. Eds. Harry Turtledove, and Noreen Doyle, eds. New York: Tor, 2004. 19-42.

Book VIII

Book IX

Book X

Session 26: Fri. 27 Apr.
Essay 2 Due Due Date changed to 30 April

Ovid, Metamorphoses continued: at least through Book XII, especially:

Book XI

Book XII

Session 27: Mon. 30 Apr.
Essay 2 Due
Ovid, Metamorphoses continued: finish the entire text, if you have not already done so (through Book XV). Read the following especially carefully:

Book XIII

Book XIV

Book XV

Session 28: Fri. 4 May
Ovid, Metamorphoses continued; Final exam discussion.

Finals Week: Final Exam
Monday, May 7, 12:20-2:20 pm

 

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PRESENTATION TOPICS:

Select one of the work(s) and/or topic(s) from the sign-up sheet to present to the class; you must be present on the day of your assigned reading and present the material thoroughly and coherently, demonstrating familiarity with the selection, its context, and its significance. Each presentation must be five to ten minutes long, and, ideally, presentations will also be open-ended, leading into class discussions with questions, major themes, or topics for further thought, rather than merely retelling the story. In addition to the topics or texts from the list, the following points may also be considered, but do not feel constrained by these suggestions; be creative, explore the topic, and have fun!

bullet The Author...(click for details)
    • Major achievements and publications in literature
    • Consistent themes or topics
    • Sources of inspiration
    • Philosophy of art, life, literature
    • Autobiographical elements of the poem
bullet

The Text...(click for details)

bullet Connections...(click for details)
    • Images, motifs, or themes reflected in other works
    • Impact on literature or influence on other authors
    • Possible thematic comparisons for use during critical literary analysis
    • Topics for further class discussion and in-class examinations

 

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Presentation Topics Sign-Up:

Session 5:
Fri. 2 Feb.

Exodus: Text, Author, and History                                                                                               

Session 6:
Mon. 5 Feb.

Exodus: Moses as Culture Hero                                                                                     

Session 6:
Mon. 5 Feb.

Exodus: Contemporary Uses/Allusions                                                                                                        

Session 7:
Fri. 9 Feb.

Job: Text, Author, and History                                                                                                 

Session 7:
Fri. 9 Feb.

Job: Theodicy                                                                                                                      

Session 7:
Fri. 9 Feb.

Job: Contemporary Uses/Allusions                                                                                                               

Session 8:
Mon. 12 Feb.

Aeschylus, Agamemnon: Text, Author, and History                                                                                     

Session 8:
Mon. 12 Feb.

Aeschylus, Agamemnon: The Trojan War (backgrounds)                                                           

Session 9:
Fri. 16 Feb.

Aeschylus, Agamemnon: Revenge and Justice                    

Session 9:
Fri. 16 Feb.

Aeschylus, Agamemnon: Male and Female Roles                                                                  

Session 9:
Fri. 16 Feb.

Aeschylus, Agamemnon: Contemporary Uses/Allusions                                                               

Session 10:
Mon. 19 Feb.

Sophocles, Oedipus the King: Text, Author, and History                                                          

Session 11:
Mon. 26 Feb.

Sophocles, Oedipus the King: Public (or Civil) v. Private concerns                                      

Session 11:
Mon. 26 Feb.

Sophocles, Oedipus the King: Truth, Light, and Vision                                                                

Session 11:
Mon. 26 Feb.

Sophocles, Oedipus the King: Contemporary Uses/Allusions                                                         

Session 12:
Fri. 2 Mar.

Euripedes, Medea: Text, Author, and History                                                                         

Session 12:
Fri. 2 Mar.

Euripedes, Medea: Male and Female Roles                                                           

Session 12:
Mon. 12 Mar.

Euripedes, Medea: Medea as Heroine                                                                                     

Session 13:
Mon. 12 Mar.

Euripedes, Medea: Medea as Villain                                                                                         

Session 13:
Mon. 12 Mar.

Euripedes, Medea: Contemporary Uses/Allusions                                                              

Session 15:
Fri. 16 Mar.

Homer, The Odyssey: Text, Author, and History                                                                       

Session 15:
Fri. 16 Mar.

Homer, The Odyssey: Gods and Monsters (Books I-XII)                                                

Session 16:
Mon. 19 Mar.

Homer, The Odyssey: Hospitality and Conduct (I-XII)                                                  

Session 16:
Mon. 19 Mar.

Homer, The Odyssey: Telemachus (I-IV, XV-XXIV)                                                                  

Session 17:
Fri. 23 Mar.

Homer, The Odyssey: Male and Female Roles                                                                

Session 17:
Fri. 23 Mar.

Homer, The Odyssey: Penelope (XV-XXIV)                                                                

Session 18:
Mon. 26 Mar.

Homer, The Odyssey: Contemporary Uses/Allusions                                              

Session 19:
Fri. 30 Mar.

Virgil, The Aeneid: Text, Author, and History                           

Session 19:
Fri. 30 Mar.

Virgil, The Aeneid: The Epic and Virgil’s Purpose(s)                                                         

Session 21:
Mon. 9 Apr.

Virgil, The Aeneid: Male and Female Roles                                                           

Session 21:
Mon. 9 Apr.

Virgil, The Aeneid: The Fall of Troy                                                                               

Session 21:
Mon. 9 Apr.

Virgil, The Aeneid:  Aeneas as Epic Hero                                  

Session 22:
Fri. 13 Apr.

Virgil, The Aeneid: Glorifying Rome                                                                                            

Session 22:
Fri. 13 Apr.

Virgil, The Aeneid: Contemporary Uses/Allusions                                                                                         

Session 23:
Fri. 20 Apr.

Ovid, Metamorphoses: Text, Author, and History                                                      

Session 23:
Fri. 20 Apr.

Ovid, Metamorphoses: Creation and the Origin(s) of Humanity (Book I)                         

Session 24:
Fri. 27 Apr.

Ovid, Metamorphoses: Perseus (IV-V)                                                                                  

Session 25:
Fri. 27 Apr.

Ovid, Metamorphoses: Medea (VII)                                                                                    

Session 26:
Fri. 27 Apr.

Ovid, Metamorphoses: Hercules (IX)                                                                                  

Session 28:
Fri. 4 May

Ovid, Metamorphoses: Contemporary Uses/Allusions                                                                

 

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ESSAY TOPICS:
For each of the assigned essays, a list of topic choices is provided; your essay must be on one of the assigned topics for that assignment or developed in consultation with the instructor. All essays must be submitted on or before the due date, by the beginning of the class period; late work will not be accepted.

For each of the essays, select one of the topics to discuss in a well-developed, coherent, and thoughtful essay of at least five to seven (5-7) pages; essays must be typed (in 12-point Times New Roman font), double-spaced, with a cover page and Works Cited page (cover page and Works Cited do not count toward the five-page requirement), and be stapled when submitted. Essays should be grammatically correct, free of errors in mechanics, grammar, usage, spelling, and documentation, and will be evaluated according to the rubric for Essay Grading Standards. In addition, essays must use a minimum of three authoritative sources, including at least one primary source (the text or texts discussed) and at least two reputable critical or scholarly secondary sources. Essays must contain quotations from or other references to your sources, and these references should be used to support your assertions about the text and be properly documented (utilizing MLA-Style Citations for documentation).

Be sure to focus carefully on the topic: formulate a strong, objectively worded thesis, and avoid plot summary. Remember that these are formal essays: they must have an appropriate, original title; contain an introduction, body, and conclusion; have a clear, explicit, assertive, objectively worded thesis statement; and avoid use of "I" or "you" throughout.

Please feel free to communicate any concerns or questions to me before the essays are due; I will be available to meet with any student who needs assistance or additional instruction. Please speak to me before or after class or e-mail me to set up an appointment during my office hours.

Essay 1: Due Friday, March 2  Monday, March 12

  1. The Epic of Gilgamesh and Genesis both present creation and culture myths (even similar versions of the same legend). Other than the story of the Deluge, explore the similarities, differences, and possible influences evident in these two works.

  2. Genesis and Exodus present a mytho-historical version of the history of the Chosen People, utilizing especially the figures of Abraham and Moses. Analyze the character of either Abraham or Moses, focusing especially on the character as a cultural hero or founder.

  3. Contrast the ideas of justice and/or fate presented in at least two of the following: Sophocles’ Oedipus the King, Aeschylus’ Agamemnon, and Euripides’ Medea.

  4. Contrast one of the works discussed in the first half of the semester (The Epic of Gilgamesh, Genesis, Exodus, Job,  Oedipus the King Agamemnon, or Medea) with a modern revision of that work; for example, contrast the Genesis account of the Deluge (Noah’s Flood) with David Maine’s The Preservationist, or the Genesis account of Cain and Abel with David Maine’s Fallen. How does the modern revision alter or adapt the ancient text, and to what end? That is, not only how are the texts different, but why?

Essay 2: Due Friday, April 20 Monday, April 30

  1. Both Homer’s Odyssey and Virgil’s Aeneid are considered epic poems. Contrast the two in terms of either:
    A. The protagonist as cultural hero or founder (Odysseus versus Aeneas), or
    B. The protagonist as an epic hero (Odysseus versus Aeneas), or
    C. Epic structure.

  2. Write an analysis of aspects of social and political life reflected in the Odyssey. Be careful in your analysis to distinguish between those details reflecting the Homeric period (circa 700 BCE) and those which may reflect the Heroic period (circa 1200-1300 BCE).

  3. Write an analysis of the characterization of either Penelope or Telemachus in Homer’s Odyssey; that is, not just what the character does, but what we know about the character, and how we know what we know. How is he or she developed or revealed? Focus on the author’s use of narration, description, and dialogue to reveal Penelope’s or Telemachus’ character and progress or development (if any).

  4. Ovid’s Metamorphoses draws upon Greek and Roman mythology and legend to create an "epic" on the theme of change and transformation. Analyze Ovid’s understanding of change or progress, and how he selects and shapes his materials toward a specific end or purpose.

  5. Contrast Ovid’s use of a specific myth or myths in Metamorphoses with its use in Greek tragedies (Sophocles’ Oedipus the King, Aeschylus’ Agamemnon, and Euripides’ Medea), in Homer’s Odyssey, or in Virgil’s Aeneid. Be sure to distinguish between the main mythological stories of the work(s) and references or allusions to subsidiary myths

  6. Contrast one of the works discussed in the second half of the semester (Homer’s Odyssey, Virgil’s Aeneid, or some portion or portions of Ovid’s Metamorphoses) with a modern revision of that work; for example, consider O Brother, Where Art Thou? or Margaret Atwood’s The Penelopiad (but not "Homer’s Odyssey" from The Simpsons) as a retelling of The Odyssey, or  Ovid as retold in Terry, Philip, ed. Ovid Metamorphosed (London: Vintage, 2001) or Philips, Marie. Gods Behaving Badly (Boston: Little, Brown, 2007). How does the modern revision alter or adapt the ancient text, and to what end? That is, not only how are the two different, but why?

 

 

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