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Michael Stoff, Director 305 East 23rd St, CLA 2.102, (G3600) Austin, TX 78712-1250 • 512-471-1442

Spring 2006

T C 603B • Composition and Reading in World Literature

Unique Days Time Location Instructor
42620 TTh
2:00 PM-3:30 PM
CRD 007B

Course Description

This section of world literature is the proteron complement to Phillip Barrish's hysteron. (The Greek words mean "earlier" and "later; hysteron proteron names the common literary device of inversion.) We now turn to written works from the ancient Greek world together with modern texts (including sung texts and the visual "texts" of film) that reveal the cultural and human purposes of these classical texts. Our purpose and our strategy will be similar to those of the fall semester. We want to understand why individual human beings created these works, what questions and problems they explore, and why other human beings--in the ancient world, mainly in a collective social setting--felt the need to experience these works. One major difference to keep in mind, besides the intensely social nature of the classical Greek works, is that they are products of a society that remained largely oral even during the period when texts were written down for use and preservation. Course requirements will also be similar. We shall continue to pay attention to textual details, while learning about historical and cultural contexts in a comparative way. We will further develop our skills at textual analysis and appreciation, intelligent and respectful discussion, and careful writing. We should come away with a better sense of what it means to be thinking and feeling human beings in a world that is full of wonder, horror, and confusion; kindness and cruelty; the ruthlessly and negligently powerful and the suffering weak and poor. We will step outside ourselves.

Grading Policy

Two short papers (3 pages): 10% each Leading of class discussion with handouts: 20% Class discussion summaries: 10% Two film responses: 10% each Long paper (6-8 pages): 20% Regular class participation and alert attendance: 10%


Literature: Homer, The Iliad and The Odyssey (tr. Lombardo) Hesiod, Works and Days and Theogony (tr. Lombardo) Euripides, Medea, Bacchae, and Trojan Women Sophocles, Oedipus Tyrannus and Antigone Aeschylus, Oresteia Thucydides, On Justice Power and Human Nature Selections from T. O'Brien, The Things They Carried S. Freud, "Disillusionment in Time of War" Selections from B. Edelman, ed., Dear America: Letters Home from Vietnam Jack Schaefer, Shane Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness Joyce Carol Oates, "Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been? Selected folk and blues songs Selected poems of S. Sassoon, W. Owen, W. Whitman, e.e. cummings, R. Hinojosa-Smith, B. Ehrhart, R. Jarrell
Films: Dear America: Letters Home from Vietnam; A Dream of Passion; Tender Mercies


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