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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 E 603A • E 603A: Composition and Reading in World Literature

Unique Days Time Location Instructor
31925 TTh
9:30 AM-11:00 AM
CAL 21

Course Description

This course will explore the classics--Homer, Greek tragedy, Dante and so on, primarily selecting works that are exalting and appalling. One of the themes running through the course will be the conception of the self in terms of ethics as opposed to passion and the related oppositions of the public to the private self. Readings begin with the Iliad, an epic that like contemporary gang culture relates honor, disrespecting, and violence. The Odyssey is about why people can’t and shouldn’t want to stay out of trouble. Greek drama throws us into dilemmas of contradictory and perhaps incommensurate conceptions of justice and both undeniable and horrific passion. Anne Carson’s translation of Sappho explores the intensities of desire. We then move to Dante, Chaucer, and Shakespeare and complete the course with A Book of Love Poetry—which, in the interests of truth in advertising I should note contains some poems that are more about sex.

About the Professor Tony Hilfer got his Ph.D. at North Carolina, and works in American literature.

Grading Policy

(1) A 1 page comment on every work in the course, due the the day we start it which you should be prepared to dramatically read and defend. These should be papers with edge, not handbook stuff. (2) 2 roughly 5 page papers analyzing or arguing with a passage in one of our readings. (3) A 3 page description of the Term Paper topic and thesis, including a preliminary account of the reading planned for the project. I will comment extensively on how the project may be further thought out (or rethought) rather than grade the description. (3) A first draft of the Term Paper. Extensive comment and editorial suggestions but again no grade (except for not doing it). (4) Term Paper, incorporating research, of 10+ pages.

Most of my criticism will be on the prospectus and first draft rather than telling students on their final version how they could have done it better. Instead students receive the editorial advice that their professors routinely seek from their peers before final submission of a project. I find this structure facilitates superior papers.


Homer, Iliad Homer, Odyssey David Grene and Richard Lattimore, eds., Greek Tragedies Euripides, Medea Anne Carson tr., If Not Winter: Fragments of Sappho Dante, Inferno Chaucer, The Canterbury Tales Shakespeare, Othello Shakespeare, King Lear Jon Stallworthy, ed., A Book of Love Poetry


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