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Lesley Dean-Jones, Chair 2210 Speedway, Mail Code C3400, Austin, TX 78712-1738 • 512-471-5742

Fall 2008


Unique Days Time Location Instructor
33268 MWF
10:00 AM-11:00 AM
GAR 2.124

Course Description

Vergil's Eclogues and Georgics occupy an important place in the development of Augustan poetry and show Vergil working in two genres that become important for subsequent literary history- pastoral and Hesiodic didactic. This course will undertake a close reading of these influential texts, situating them in the context of Augustan society and ideology, Vergils Hellenistic and archaic precursors, and his imitators in the later European literary tradition. Vergil will thus form the basis for an explanation of the cross-cultural intertextual dynamics of these two literary forms. The first fives weeks of the course will focus on the Eclogues. After a brief discussion of the origins of the pastoral genre in epic tradition and Near Eastern sources, we shall examine the Eclogues in sequence, comparing them where appropriate with selected idylls of Theocritus (which students may read in English), the 3rd century AD pastorals of Calpurnius and Nemestanus, Medieval pastorals of Dante and Petrarch, and later vernacular pastoral including Spenser and Milton. We shall also consider the structure of the Eclogue book as a whole and the concept of the poetry book as itself a form of artistic expression. The last nine weeks will concentrate on the Georgics, which we will read in their entirety. These will not only be viewed in the context of didactic poetry and geoponic literature, but will also be analyzed as a model for literary allusion and reference to a wide range of sources. The course will feature a balanced mix of daily translation, background lectures, and free discussion. The course grade will be determined by two midterm exams (20% each), a final (20%), a ten-page paper (20%), and class participation, including an oral report (20%).


R. Colemen (ed.), Vergil: Eclogues (Cambridge, U.P.) R. F. Thomas (ed.), Vergil: Gerogics I-II (Cambridge, U.P.) R. F. Thomas (ed), Vergil: Georgics III-IV (Cambridge, U.P.) A. Verity (trans.), Theocritus (Oxford, U.P.)


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