Backgrounds of Western Literature

We will read biblical, classical, and mythical sources to evaluate their cultural legacies (for good and for ill) and aesthetic influences (in modern poetry).  We’ll look at gender ideologies in the ORESTEIA, Ovid’s METAMORPHOSES, and Genesis (as well as pre-biblical Sumerian myths).  On a theme of questioning the gods, we’ll study Job and the Oedipus cycle.  We’ll have Plato and Aristotle debate whether tragedy hurts the state or heals the community.  Finally, we’ll track pig gods as they appear in THE ODYSSEY, Hawaiian myth, and Flannery O’Connor’s modern short stories.  (Books will be available through Revolution Books.)

Students write:

  • four 3-5-page papers
  • several 2-page papers
  • a midterm
  • and a final

Students also participate in discussion and panels.