COM 205: Classical Roots of Western Literature

Schedule of Lectures and Assignmentt

Fall 2004 – Prof. Andrew Ford

Structure of course:
1 Lecture per week: 1:30 pm - 2:20 pm Mon.
2 Precepts per week: 9:00 am - 9:50 am Tues.  Thurs.
NB: Depending on interest, another precept at 10-10:50 may be added: see instructor if interested. (
Schedule of readings:
Please have read and reflected on the texts below before coming to precepts and lectures.
Th. 9/9: Classes begin.      I would like to meet and get started on this day.
Please attend the precept if at all possible. Let’s retell the creation story in  Genesis Chapters 1-6; compare and contrast the account—note the obvious—in Ovid, Metamorphoses Book 1, verses 1-495 (up to page 27 in the Raeburn translation on order for the course).
See course Web Page on Blackboard for further resources.

Week I. Mon.  9/13:                   Genesis and the shape of Western Literature (Please have read: Genesis Ch. 7-end)

Tues. 9/14: What’s Achilles’ problem? Iliad Book 1 (pp. 3-30 in the  Fitzgerald translation)
Th. 9/16: Character pairs: Agamemnon and Odysseus—Paris  and Hector—Helen and Andromache.          Iliad 2.1-560 (pp. 33-45 Fitzgerald), Bks. 3, 6

Week II. Mon.  9/20:      Achilles and Abraham: 

Read: Iliad Bks. 9, 16, 22, 24

Tues. 9/21: Read on Electronic reserves and be prepared to discuss James Redfield’s interpretation of the poem: "Introduction: Achilles and Hector" in Nature and Culture in the Iliad, pp. 3-29
NB: this and other ORSS reserve readings can be found for COM 205 at: also Blackboard Main page, under "E-Reserves".)
Th. 9/23: Telemachus  or the story of the son:  Odyssey Bks. 1-2

Week III. Mon.  9/27:          The New Worlds of Odysseus

Read: Od.  Bks. 3-9

Tues. 9/28: Od. 10-12:  Fantasyland

Th. 9/30:  Od. 13-16:  Ithca: “Another strange island”

Week IV Mon 10/4:                  The King restored

Read: Od. 17-24 

Tues. 10/5: Read on ORSS and be prepared to discuss a classic of comp. lit: the  comparison of the Hebrew scriptures and Homer in Erich Auerbach, "Odysseus' Scar," in Mimesis : The Representation of Reality in Western Literature,  pp. 3-23 (nb)
Th. 10/7: From Odysseus to Oedipus: Sophocles, Oedipus the King

Week V Mon. 10/11:   Tragic Kings: Oedipus and Pentheus

Euripides Bacchae

Tues. 10/12:  Read the Introduction to the Bacchae by M. Nussbaum. Be prepared to discuss her interpretation.

Th. 10/14:  Plato’s Symposium: dialogue as a new kind of drama. Symp. 172A-178A (pp. 1-8 in Nehemas tr.)

Week VI Mon. 10/18:                 The Platonic Art of Writing

Plato, Symposium 178B-201C  (pp. 9-44)

Tues. 10/19: Diotima’s Wisdom:  Symposium 201D- 212C (pp. 45-60)
Th. 10/21: Alcibiades’ Wisdom: Symposium 212C-end (pp. 61-77)
[BREAK 10/23-10/31]

Week VII Mon. 11/1:        Greece to Rome, Homer to Vergil

Aeneid Bks. 1-4

Tues. 11/2: Read and (through Blackboard “Assignments” or at T. S. Eliot, “Tradition and the Individual Talent.” Be prepared to discuss the authors we’ve read in Eliot’s terms.
Th. 11/4: History and cosmogony: Aeneid 5-6

Week VIII. Mon. 11/8:                 Vergil’s Iliad

Aeneid 7-10

Tues. 11/9: Closure? Aeneid Bks. 11-12
Th. 11/11: Caesar and Christ: Gospel of Matthew Chh. 1-7

Week IX Mon. 11/15:                 Jesus and Kingdom Come

 Matthew Chh. 8-25

Tues. 11/14: Passion (Matthew 26-28) and Prophecy: Revelation (Apocalypse) Chh. 1, 4-6, 12, 17, 21-22
Th. 11/18:  Back to Ovid: Metamorphoses: Book 1.451-end of Bk. 2 (pp. 28-90, tr. Raeburn)

Week X. Mon. 11/22:          Ovid’s Art

Metamorphoses Bks. 3-6

Tues. 11/23: Ovid’s Iliad: Met. Bk. 12
[THANKSGIVING Break 11/24-28]

Week XI. Mon. 11/29:        The Final Form of Change

Metamorphoses 13-15

Tues. 11/30: Read on ORSS one of the classics of Postmodern criticism: Roland Barthes, "From Work to text," in The Rustle of Language, pp. 56-64. How well does he fit Ovid?
Th. 12/2: Augustine Confessions Book 1

Week XII. Mon. 12/6:         Augustine’s Confessions

Tues. 12/7: Confessions
Th. 12/9: Confessions

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