Fall 2021 Undergraduate English Courses

358:302 Classical Backgrounds of Literature in English

01  Asynchronous Online   14753   SCANLON  

This course will introduce students to the massive influence the literature of classical antiquity (ancient Greece and Rome) has had on literature written in English. We will begin with the five most important and influential classical epics: the Illiad and Odyssey of Homer, the Aeneid by Vergil, and the Metamorphoses of Ovid. We will also read two plays by the ancient Greek tragedian Sophocles, Oedipus Rex and Antigone. That will provide us with a matrix of themes and conventions to explore in works written in English from the Middle Ages to the present. These works will include two medieval poems: Beowulf and Sir Gawain and the Green Knight; and one eighteenth-century poem: The Rape of the Lock, by Alexander Pope, and a variety of more modern and contemporary works. These will include the poetry of Walt Whitman, Gwendolyn Brooks, Ted Hughes, and Rita Dove, the play Juno and the Paycock by the Irish playwright Sean O’Casey, and the novels As I Lay Dying, by William Faulkner; Ceremony, by Leslie Marmon Silko, and NW, by Zadie Smith.

Requirements: Two papers (2-3 pp., and 8-10), mid-term and final.