Pirates, prostitutes, witches, and donkeys: the novels of ancient Greece and Rome often surprise their modern readers with a striking blend of humor, violence, and eroticism. From damsels in distress and daring rescues to impossible journeys and magical transformations, this course will consider these remarkable and varied texts within their own literary and cultural contexts. By reading the works of such authors as Longus, Lucian, Apuleius, and Heliodorus, we will survey the different forms of extended prose fiction that have traditionally been called the ancient “novel.” We will confront the challenges of defining the genre itself, and consider both its ancient literary heritage and its later reception and afterlife. We will also explore the ways in which these texts engage with the complex and diverse world of the ancient Mediterranean, paying close attention to the representation of gender, sexuality, ethnicity, and cultural identity. All readings are in translation.
The Class: Type: seminar
Requirements/Evaluation: class participation, in-class presentations, brief reading responses (1-page), and a final paper (8-10 pages)
Extra Info: may not be taken on a pass/fail basis
Prerequisites: none, although some prior knowledge of the ancient Mediterranean will be useful
Enrollment Preference: Classics and Comparative Literature majors
Distributions: Division I;