This course provides students an introduction to some of the most influential ancient texts of the western tradition as well as the rudiments of college-level writing. The narratives of Homer, the Bible, tragedy, and fifth-century prose furnish the subject matter for a series of small exercises and larger drafted essays to guide students through the practice and refinement of specific skill-sets of writing. With the help of oral and written feedback from section leaders and peers, students will learn critical reading and writing skills which are essential to success in the advanced stages of their academic programs as well as their later professional lives.
The "Greek classics" and the narratives of the Old Testament highlight Physical, Intellectual, and Moral Struggles: of the individual against self, society, Others, and gods; of the city against its neighbors, as well as against its people and even its own ideals; of the ideal against the reality. These texts have endured for thousands of years as the basis of "the canon" of western literature because their picture of the human condition resonates, particularly in times of conflict and uncertainty. GTBOOKS 191 will thus regularly reflect upon these works’ continued relevance to our own times. In addition to becoming better readers and writers, students will acquire practice in conducting respectful yet rigorous debate, a broader cross-cultural understanding, and an appreciation for ancient literature’s timeless relevance to contemporary political and cultural issues.
Attendance and Participation: 15%
Students are expected to attend lectures and sections, contribute to discussion, and compose brief answers or statements of four to five sentences on a specific question or topic announced in lecture.
Writing Exercises: 20%
Students will receive credit for completing eight one-page writing exercises due throughout the term. Although they will not be graded, each of these exercises is worth 2.5% (for a total of 20%) provided they adequately address the assignment and are submitted on-time. A description of each exercise can be found posted on CTools.
Formal Papers: 40%
Midterm (Thursday, October 30; 1 hour): 10%
Final (Thursday, December 13; 1:30-3:30): 15%
Lecture and discussion