CLAS 101
Greek Literature: Performance, Conflict, Desire Fall 2024
Division I
Cross-listed COMP 101 / THEA 104 / DANC 101

Class Details

In the Iliad, Paris’ desire for the famously beautiful Helen leads to the Trojan War, the devastating conflict between the Trojans and the Greeks retold and reimagined time and again in ancient Greek literature. The stories of Troy and its aftermath were performed not only as epic poems (as in the Iliad and the Odyssey), but also re-enacted by singing and dancing choruses, dramatized on the tragic stage, and recounted in oratory. Beginning with the Homeric epics, this course explores the recurring and ever-shifting debates, longings, hostilities, and aspirations that drive Greek literature and shape its reception, with a particular focus on questions of performance context and audience. Our attention to sound, movement, and staging will be enriched by consideration of select examples from the rich reception history of Greek myth in modern theater and dance. The nexus of performance, conflict, and desire will also give us a distinct perspective on many important topics within the study of Greek culture, including the embodiment of personal and collective identities, the workings of Athenian democracy, and the development of literary genres. This course will include readings from, e.g., Homer, Sappho, Herodotus, Aeschylus, Sophocles, Euripides, Aristophanes, Thucydides, and Plato, as well as viewings of relevant performance works. All readings are in translation.
The Class: Format: lecture
Limit: 20
Expected: 20
Class#: 1819
Grading: no pass/fail option, yes fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: midterm and final exam; brief (one or two pages) written assignments; participation in class.
Prerequisites: none
Enrollment Preferences: Classics majors, first years, sophomores
Distributions: Division I
Notes: This course is cross-listed and the prefixes carry the following divisional credit:
COMP 101 Division I THEA 104 Division I CLAS 101 Division I DANC 101 Division I

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