This course considers ethical and literary dimensions of self-fashioning, self-examination, and the conception of selfhood in the Stoic philosophy of the younger Seneca through close reading of extensive selections from his philosophical works and tragedies. The focus of this course lies squarely in the first century CE and on the analysis of Seneca’s own texts. We begin, however, with an introduction to the ethics of Roman Stoicism through the personae theory of Panaetius as transmitted by Cicero’s De Officiis. Moreover, we will read and discuss reflections on selfhood from some of Seneca’s most famous philosophical and literary heirs, including Montaigne, Emerson, and Foucault, both to enrich our understanding of his work and to gain an appreciation of his considerable influence on later writing about the self.
The Class: Type: seminar
Requirements/Evaluation: evaluation will be based on class participation, several short written and oral assignments, midterm and final exams, and a final paper
Prerequisites: CLLA 302 or permission of instructor
Distributions: Division I;