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Classics 435: The Ancient Novel
Catherine Connors firstname.lastname@example.org
In this course we will read five lively novels, each about two thousand years old. The earliest prose fiction in the European tradition, they tell exciting stories of young love and far flung adventure in a cosmopolitan world. Reading them in English translation offers a whirlwind tour of the Greek and Roman world and its literature.
Along the way, assignments and discussion will focus on using and strengthening skills in close reading, research, presentation and writing that will serve you well wherever you go from here. Questions to be considered will include how the novels represent society: do they replicate or undermine the beliefs that structure Greek and Roman systems of class and gender inequity? The characters in the novels move through worlds of many different cultures: how do the novels capture the experience of diversity in the Greek and Roman worlds? How do the novels investigate the process of communication across cultural divides? To what extent could the ancient novels invite their ancient audiences to reflect upon or critique the structures of power that they inhabited?
Approximately 100 action packed pages of reading per week will be assigned; a study guide with some background materials and discussion questions will be distributed for each novel.
Greek Fiction: Callirhoe, Daphnis and Chloe, Letters of Chion Ed. Helen Morales
Achilles Tatius, Leucippe and Clitophon, trans. Tim Whitmarsh
Apuleius: The Golden Ass, trans. S. Ruden
Petronius: The Satyricon, trans. S. Ruden
Grades will be calculated approximately as follows:
20% preparation for and participation in discussion
20% written assignments. These are straightforward study questions that strengthen skills in close reading and critical analysis and help emphasize major themes of the course. Sometimes I collect them, sometimes I walk around and check off that you have done them.
20 % paper/project 6-8 pp. You will work with me to identify an area of interest that you want to explore, get some practice in locating and using scholarly research resources, and share your work with the class before handing in the paper/project. Traditional paper projects may be done (I have lots of topics to suggest), but I also encourage you to think creatively and adventurously to consider non-traditional projects that might connect to your other interests and pursuits.
20% midterm exam (identifications, short answer questions and essay)
20% final exam (same format as midterm)