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Modern readers often encounter Homer, Sappho, Sophocles, and the Greek orators through 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. We will survey the evidence for the musical, visual, and embodied aspects of Greek literature, and also 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 culture, including the construction of personal and collective identities, the workings of Athenian democracy, and the development of literary genres, and it will also enable us to consider the reception and reperformance of Greek myth and literature from new angles. All readings are in translation.
Format: seminar; This is a hybrid course that will likely involve both Zoom and in-person sections; precise format (including potential alternate meeting times) TBD in consultation with enrolled students.
Grading: yes pass/fail option,
yes fifth course option
active participation in class, short essays/projects (2-5 pages each, 5 total, including a longer final essay/project)
first-year students and sophomores and majors in Classics, Comparative Literature, and Theatre
This course is cross-listed and the prefixes carry the following divisional credit: