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

Fall 2004

T C 603A • Composition and Reading in World Literature

Unique Days Time Location Instructor
42125 MWF
11:00 AM-12:00 PM

Course Description

Finding the right words is not merely academic. The power of words is felt in all aspects of our lives, and not least in love and war. Young King Henry could bring an impregnable fortress to surrender by frightening its defenders with one short speech, and could win the love of a conquered princess with another. Peacemakers find words to which enemies agree, while leaders in war know how to say words for which men will lay down their lives. Think of the power that Churchill and Hitler drew, in different ways, from words. Lovers, on the other hand, seek words to win over the people they love. The right words inspire confidence; they are reassuring or comforting, and they bring two people into one shared web of emotions. The wrong words, as we all know, can lead to tears and separation.

The first semester of this course is about the power of words. You will flex your own powers in a series of six short papers on a wide range of topics. Meanwhile, we will discuss the most famous rhetoric in European literature—from Odysseus’ deception of the Cyclops to recent love poetry. About the Professor Paul Woodruff, professor of philosophy, holds a doctorate from Princeton and is a winner of the Harry Ransom Teaching Award. His scholarly interests include ancient Greek philosophy, philosophy of literature, and ethics. He has published translations of Plato, Sophocles and Thucydides and has written a book on reverence (2201) and another on democracy (to be released in January 2005). Professor Woodruff has taught Philosophy 610Q many times and has supervised numerous senior theses. He was chair of the Department of Philosophy from 1988 until August 1991, when he became director of Plan II. You can catch sight of him rowing on Town Lake in the afternoons, but his woodworking shop, he says, is closed to visitors. He has written plays, opera librettos, novellas, and poetry. His latest extracurricular project is a set of modern versions of ancient love poetry.

Grading Policy

Write six papers of varying length. Participation counts for 15%; the Mid-Term and Final Exam count for 15% and 20% respectively; the best five of the six papers count for 10% each. Late papers cause penalties; a B+ paper that is late, for example, would receive a B. Absence from class too has its cost; each unexcused absence lowers a student’s final grade by one-third point.


Homer, The Iliad Thucydides, On Justice, Power and Human Nature Euripides, Bacchae Sophocles, Antigone Shakespeare, Much Ado About Nothing; Henry V Jean Anouilh, Antigone in Five Plays Duras & Resnais, Hiroshima Mon Amour Nguyen Du, The Tale of Kieu Diana Hacker, A Pocket Manual of Style John Trimble, Writing with style Chaucer, The Canterbury Tales Packet of love poetry


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