Honors | Ideas & Experience I (HON)
H211 | 17400 | Jack Rollins

TuTh 1:00-2:15pm

This class is an Intensive Writing course.
Kierkegaard once remarked that we live our lives in the present but
understand them only in the past. Could this casual observation,
more generally, also be the reason why we might want to study the
history of how our culture evolved, that is, to understand more
about ourselves? Could a study of the particular transmission of the
Greco-Roman civilization into the Western world actually tell us
something about ourselves in Bloomington in 2003? And what is it
about these particular books specifically that seem to resonate such
a rare greatness that is visionary, prophetic, and even
transformative to us in the West? This class will begin with a
discussion of the idea of culture and then read, discuss, and write
critically about selected works in the Greco-Roman world to learn
how each demonstrated something visionary and transformative about
their respective cultures that we have, in turn, seen valuable
enough to make a part of our own culture. Throughout the semester--
during our discussion of these works—I will ask students where their
own sensibilities seem to fall:  to the intellectual tradition of
the Greeks or to the Romans. Then at the end of the semester, we
will choose up sides (Greeks and Romans) and have it out in a series
of practical and intellectual challenges (some what like the TV
series “The Survivors”) which will takes us to different campus
venues, including the Art Museum, trying to show how (in Hamlet)
Horatio’s claim that “I am more an antique Roman than a Dane,” might
be recast as “I am more antique Roman (or Greek) than Greek (or
Roman). Finally, you will asked to explain, with copious examples
from the reading list, class discussions—both in and outside the
classroom—why you are more an “antique Roman or Greek.”
We will write a series of short papers.  There are no tests.
Aristotle, Poetics
Cicero, On the Good Life
Homer, Odyssey
Ovid, The Heroides
Plato, The Republic
Sophocles, Antigone
Virgil, The Aeneid