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

Spring 2009

GK 390 • Sophocles

Unique Days Time Location Instructor
32255 W
2:00 PM-5:00 PM
FAC 406

Course Description

The surviving plays of Sophocles show dramaturgy of a high order; they have, moreover, been the subject of superb critical writing from Aristotle's to Charles Segals. This seminar will read all the plays in translation, along with major critical works. We will be looking at such elements as plot construction, scene construction, the use of character and change in character, the juxtaposition of choral odes and episodes, etc. We will also be looking at diction, prosody, imagery, and other features of dialogue and poetry. A number of scenes and speeches present problems of interpretation, and we will pay special attention to those, as well as to a few crucial difficulties in the text. Whatever happens, we will be sure to see the woods for the trees. In the end we should be able to say, with more authority than before, why we should be elated at the thought of passing these brilliant texts along to our students in the future. The seminar will work through one play entirely in Greek (the Electra) and short selections from each of the other playsprobably Ajaxs speech to Tecmessa (646-92); Deianeiras autobiography (141-77); choral passages from Antigone (332-75, 781-800, and 1115-54); Oedipus debate with Tiresias (532-615); the messenger speech from Oedipus at Colonus (1586-1664); Philoctetes gives the bow to Neoptolemus (627-826). I chose the Electra because it is the subject of a new commentary by Finglass; it is a very large and expensive book, but it will be on reserve in the Classics Library. Requirements: One formal presentation in class on an issue on which critics are divided (20%); informal presentations and participation as needed (20%); draft of a term paper (10%); final version of the term paper (30%); brief exam on the Greek readings (20%).


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