COMP 320
Enchantment and the Origins of Poetry
Last Offered Fall 2010
Division I Writing Skills
Cross-listed CLGR 410 / CLAS 320 / COMP 320
This course is not offered in the current catalog or this is a previous listing for a current course.

Class Details

Since the earliest period of Greek literature, poems have been intimately bound up in the notion of enchantment, or thelxis. The power of song to alter the mental and physical states of the audience and the world at large is intertwined with the wide variety of uses to which ancient magic was applied. Similarly, the idea of divine or supernatural inspiration can be interpreted as a reflexive enchantment that binds the poet to the transformative power of language. This tutorial course will explore the fundamental ways in which ancient Greek and Roman poetry, and its later offspring, are configured and understood as a kind of enchantment or incantation. By examining works that explicitly depict acts of enchantment as well as those that represent themselves as spells, dreams, charms, and curses, we will attempt to understand the structural and semantic relationships between song and magic across several genres. We will also consider the role of inspiration, enthusiasm, memory, truth, and falsehood in shaping both the poems themselves and discourses about poetry. Finally, we will investigate the reception and elaboration of these concepts in later European poetic traditions from the middle ages through modernity. Readings may include selections from Homer, Hesiod, Sappho, Pindar, Aeschylus, Euripides, Plato’s Ion and Phaedrus, Theocritus, Virgil, Horace, Ovid, Roman love elegy, Old English charms, Old Norse poetry, Marlowe’s Dr. Faustus, Shakespeare’s A Winter’s Tale, Coleridge, Shelley, MallarmĂ©, ValĂ©ry, T.S. Eliot, and various other poets and critics. All works will be read in English translation, but students who have studied ancient Greek will be expected to read significant portions of the early material in the original.
The Class: Format: tutorial
Limit: 10
Expected: 10
Class#: 1674
Grading: OPG
Requirements/Evaluation: students will meet with instructor in pairs once a week; one 5- to 7-page paper every other week and critique of partners' papers in alternate weeks
Extra Info: may not be taken on a pass/fail basis
Prerequisites: none
Enrollment Preferences: preference given to majors in Classics and Comparative Literature
Distributions: Division I Writing Skills
Notes: This course is cross-listed and the prefixes carry the following divisional credit:
CLGR 410 Division I CLAS 320 Division I COMP 320 Division I

Class Grid

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