25 January 2018

Homer & Herodotus, Spring 2017

World Literature: Homer & Herodotus
Secondary Texts Available on Moodle
24 T Introduction. Martin, “Utterance”
26 R The Iliad, Books 1-2 Nagy, “Multiformity” Slatkin, “Helplessness”
31 T The Iliad, Books 3-4 Austin, “Helen” Muellner “Cranes”
2 R The Iliad, Books 5-6 Morris, “2 Cities”
7 T The Iliad, Books 7-8 Bennet, “Bronze”
9 R The Iliad, Books 9-10
14 T The Iliad, Books 11-12 Morris, “Iron”
16 R The Iliad, Books 13-14 Morrell, “Disease”
21 T The Iliad, Books 15-16
23 R The Iliad, Books 17-18
28 T The Iliad, Books 19-20 Morrell, “Chaos”
2 R The Iliad, Books 21-22
7 T The Iliad, Books 23-24
9 R The Histories, Book 1. Momigliano, Bakker, Nagy, “Oral & Ancient Greek Poetry.”
14 T The Histories, Book 1. Travis. Research Paper #1 Due.
28 T The Histories, Book 2. Lloyd
30 R The Histories, Book 3. Nagy, “Charms of Tyranny.”
4 T The Histories, Book 3
11 T The Histories, Book 4. Hartog.
13 R The Histories, Book 5. Irwin.
18 T The Histories, Book 5
20 R The Histories, Book 6. Nagy, “Ainos as Song or Speech.”
25 T The Histories, Book 7. Christ.
27 R The Histories, Book 7
2 T NO CLASSES (in afternoon)
4 R The Histories, Book 8. Hornblower.
9 T The Histories, Book 9. Nagy, “Authority of Historia.”
11 R The Histories, Book 9.
15 M Research Paper #2 Due.
Students with special needs must see the professor in the first week of classes, and he will make all reasonable accommodations.
ENG395 is an advanced literature class that also satisfies the general education requirement. What does this mean? Well, to me it means that you are not expected to have read Homer or Herodotus before, but that you have read before, that you have engaged with a challenging text from a world unlike your own and have tried on some level to its meaning into your world. World Literature, in its broadest academic sense, means literature outside of the Anglo-American catalog and there for can be presented in many, many ways. This section of 385 will focus on two works from ancient Greece. The Iliad, composed by someone we call Homer, tells the story of a late-Bronze Age conflict, the cornerstone of classical Greek myth, the Trojan War. The Histories, written (yes, actually written, although probably also performed) by Herodotus, is his fifth-century telling of the Persian War, when non-Greek powers from Asia invaded the Greek peninsula in the early fifth century (all our dates are B.C.E. or if you prefer, B.C. Remember that “5th century” means the four hundreds: early fifth century is 495; late fifth century is 404). This class will call upon you to read both deeply and somewhat quickly, for we shall also be reading secondary texts; these secondary texts are available on the Moodle page in the week that more or less coincides with their reading due dates.
Although I have read and taught The Iliad dozens of times, I have never written or taught a class on both Herodotus and Homer, so in many ways we will be working through things for the first time together. I can tell you that I participated in a Herodotus seminar last summer and so was in a sense a student of this text, and that’s another similarity between this instructor and the students in this class.
So, what is our job and what is the purpose of the class? In short, you are to come to class meetings prepared (this means much more than just having read the material. It means you are ready to engage proactively with the class in analyzing and interpreting the text) to speak, listen, take notes, encourage others while also critiquing others’ ideas and in general being a fully operating member of a literary/historical think tank. The larger questions we will pursue will be to explore how Homer’s poetic work is historical and how Herodotus’ historical work is literary. Another way to put this is to say that our modern ideas of history and literature and the distinction between the two are just that—very modern. Another question we will pursue is the idea of authority. What made a work authoritative to the ancient Greeks? How did they “use” authority or works with authority? It is also my fervent hope that you will also simply enjoy these works as you might enjoy a really good movie or a vacation abroad or meeting a new and interesting person.
Ours is a small class, so the duties of class participation are intensified. This is NOT a lecture class, but a seminar, and so we will all have to be “on” most of the time.
PAPERS. Each paper should be about ten pages long, exclusive of notes and works cited. You should pursue an interpretive question through close reading, analysis, judicious use of secondary sources, and logical argumentation. You may simply want to continue the line of questions we follow in the class, but remember: your ideas in the paper must go far beyond the classroom conversation. Also, there is no need for you to use secondary sources outside of the secondary readings I have given you. You may choose to use other sources, as best suits your particular thesis, but it isn’t required.
Each paper will constitute 40% of your final grade. 20% of your final grade will be based on class participation.
Students who wish to earn extra credit (usually a boost of one or two increments to your final grade) may do so in one or both of two ways. First, you can mentor, assist, or somehow work with first-year students who are reading The Iliad (and writing a research paper) at the same time you are. You can work IN the classroom assisting me (I have two sections: MWF 9-9:50 and 11-11:50), or you can make arrangements with one or more students OUTSIDE of class to run study groups, reading sessions, peer editing activities, or the like. Depending on how much you want to put into this work, your final grade could really get hiked up. The second way to earn extra credit is to memorize and recite to the class twenty lines from Homer with fewer than five errors. Dressing up accurately and dramatically reciting the lines will further goose your extra credit. And yes, you can do both.
Office Hours. OM 312b. MWF 8-9, 10-11, and sometimes 12-1.
TR 8:30-9:30. And sometimes 11-1.
360-438-4336 smead@stmartin.edu

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