Cross-listed as COMP248 / CLAS211 / THEA211
Modern readers often encounter Homer, Sappho, Sophocles, and the Greek orators as written texts, yet their first ancient audiences experienced the words of these authors not in silence and solitude, but in live performance contexts. This course, therefore, will take up performance as a critical lens for interpreting ancient Greek literature, situating these works within a rich culture of song, dance, speech, and debate. From the Homeric epics and the masterpieces of Greek tragedy and comedy to the speeches and dialogues of Demosthenes, Thucydides, and Plato, we will survey the evidence for the musical, visual, and embodied aspects of Greek literature. At the same time, we will reflect on the rewards and limits of enlivening the ancient world through the reconstruction and re-imagination of its performative dimensions. Our attention to performance will give us a distinct perspective on many important topics within the study of Greek civilization, including the construction of personal and collective identity, the workings of Athenian democracy, and the development of literary genres. In addition to a wide selection from Greek poetry, drama, and prose, our readings will include works by ancient and modern theorists of performance and culture. All readings are in translation.
The Class: Type: lecture
Requirements/Evaluation: class participation, two essays (5 pages), midterm, final exam
Enrollment Preference: first-year students and sophomores and majors in Classics, Comparative Literature, and Theatre
Distributions: Division I;