English | Literary Masterpieces
L213 | 2003 | Clopper
9:30a-10:45a TR (70) 3 cr
The course will center on texts from the European tradition that have
mattered. Some of these texts mattered because they set literary
standards that later writers tried to emulate or escape. Others mattered
because they recorded events that were deeply imbedded in a culture's
psyche. Why, for example, was the Trojan war so important to the Greeks?
And later to the Romans? And still later to medieval peoples? All these
texts have also mattered because they helped shape what we are today.
Although much of the course will consist of the reading and interpretation
of individual texts, we will also talk about how an old text influences a
later text and how the later text rereads the earlier one.
Texts we may read include selections from Plato's dialogues, Homer's
ILIAD, plays of the Greek dramatists, selections from Ovid's
METAMORPHOSES, Vergil's AENID, selections from Judeo-Christian scriptures,
Dante's INFERNO, medieval romance, and some works of Geoffrey Chaucer.
There will be frequent short, written responses to our texts, quizzes or
exams, and two longer written analyses. Students will be expected to
participate in oral analyses in class.
Written work for the course will consist of several short (1-2) page
writing assignments; a midterm exam; a collaborative research project; and
a final exam.