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

Spring 2007

T C 603B • Composition and Reading in World Literature

Unique Days Time Location Instructor
43345 TTh
12:30 PM-2:00 PM
CRD 007B

Course Description

If the past is a foreign country, literature is a most illuminating tour guide. The fall semester will explore the theme of search and discovery in some works from ancient Greece, ancient Rome, and Renaissance Europe. Well spend much of our time on three epic journeys: a struggle to return home in Homer's Odyssey, a voyage to found a new home in Vergills Aeneid, and a quest to recover love by finding God in Dantes Divine Comedy. Along the way, well take some shorter excursions into the realm of the stage and also retrace a few other tales of travel. The focus will be on the process of searching: what different people seek, how and why they do so, and what we can learn from their endeavors, about others and about ourselves. We shall also consider questions of literary form and method: how writers guide and shape our responses to their work through their manipulation of language, character, plot, and various other factors. In the spring our readings will turn to a hearty and balanced diet of prose, poetry, and drama.

About the Professor

Professor White studies and teaches mainly the philosophy, literature, and languages of ancient Greece and Rome; he also directs UT's graduate program in ancient philosophy. He considers himself fortunate to be engaged in a lifelong conversation with the dead from the distant past; and in both his teaching and his research, he tries to sustain that conversation by engaging others in it. His favorite authors are Aristotle and Plato; his other enthusiasms include travel (in space as well as time), museums, yardwork, bicycling, and the exquisite game of squash.

Grading Policy

Grades will be based on four short papers, two of 2-4 pages, two of 4-6 pages, and perhaps two to three short response papers of 1-2 pages, all comprising 40% of the final grade; two exams comprising 40%; and participation in class comprising 20%. Late papers will receive lower grades; and since attendance is necessary for discussion, there will be similar penalties for unexcused absence.


Boccaccio, Lady Fiammetta
Doerr, Stones for Ibarra
Joyce, Portrait of the Artist
Voltaire, Candide
Wolf, Medea
Woolf, A Room of One's Own
Poetry by Barrett Browning, Hopkins, Keats, Millay, Neruda, Roethke, Sappho, Shakespeare, Yeats, and some others
Plays by Chekhov, Miller, Racine, Shakespeare, Soyinka, Wilde, and Williams


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