Great Books Courses (Division 382)

191 Great Books. Open to Honors freshmen only. (4). (HU).

Great Books 191 will survey the classical works of ancient Greece. Among the readings will be Homer's Iliad and Odyssey, a number of the plays of Aeschylus, Sophocles, Euripides, and Aristophanes, Herodotus' Histories, Thucydides' History of the Peloponnesian War, and several of Plato's dialogues. The course format is two lectures and two discussion meetings a week. Six to eight short papers will be assigned; there will be midterm and final examinations. Great Books 191 is open to freshmen in the Honors Program, and to other students with the permission of the Director of the Great Books Program. (Cameron, Buttrey, and others)

201 Great Books. Gt. Bks. 201 is not open to students who have taken Gt. Bks. 191 or Classical Civ. 101. (3). (HU).
SECTION 001.
Because who we are and what we are is in large measure shaped by what we have received from ancient Greece and Rome and Israel, the person who would know of himself or herself will wish to know something of these cultures through their writings. We will in this course study some of those writings by reading and discussing Homer's Iliad and Odyssey; the Oresteia of Aeschylus; Sophocles' Oedipus the King; two of Plato's Socratic dialogues; the books of Genesis, Exodus, Job, and one of the Gospels from the King James translation of the Bible; Virgil's Aeneid. Thus we will have something of Greek and Roman and Hebraic epic, tragedy, philosophy. Assigned written work will be frequent and brief; evaluation will include these, class participation, one midterm and one final exam. Students who wish to do so might get an early start on the course by obtaining and reading in R. Lattimore's translations of the Iliad and Odyssey. (McNamara)

SECTION 002. This course will concentrate on one city Athens - for about one century the Fifth, BC and the literature produced there (tragedy, comedy, history, and philosophy). But everything begins with Homer - right? and so shall we, with The Iliad, which sets the tone for what will follow in the course and in much of Greek culture. For contrast, we will consider Job as an expression of some central values of a rival culture, the Judaeo-Christian. Then to Athens for the flowering of tragedy (Sophocles: Antigone, Oedipus Rex), comedy (Aristophanes: Lysistrata, Clouds), history (Thucydides: History of the Peloponnesian Wars ) and philosophy (Plato: a few short dialogues and The Republic ). Finally, if time allows, we shall look to Rome and Lucretius' The Nature of Things, a remarkably "modern" cosmology, but essentially a Latinated version of the ideas of a Greek philosopher, Epicurus. We shall explore both the intrinsic properties of these great works and their functions as cultural indices, considering not only what they reveal about the ancient world but also about ours. The format of the class will be primarily discussion, with a background lecture now and then. (Beauchamp)

SECTION 003. Unless you care to think and talk and write about such matters as responsibility, courage, honor, friendship, loyalty, love, justice, goodness, ambiguity, time, power, death, and faith, this course is not for you. If you do care about what is true or noble or good, you may enjoy the contacts we will make, through reading excellent English translations, with the Hebrew and the Graeco-Roman roots of Western Civilization. Our texts will include the book of Genesis and the Exodus saga from the King James translation of the Bible; Homer's Iliad and Odyssey (the Lattimore translations); broad selections in the Histories of Herodotus; Aeschylus' tragic trilogy, the Oresteia; a few of Plato's shorter Socratic dialogues ( Euthyphro, Apology, Crito, Symposium ); and Vergil's epic of Rome, the Aeneid. As well as attending and participating in class, students will write three papers (3-4 pages each), a midterm, and a final exam. (Wallin)

SECTION 004. In this course you will read, discuss, and write about a number of books that have achieved a very special standing in our culture. Written two thousand years ago for audiences with backgrounds and expectations totally unlike our own, these books have preserved their value and importance with ease. Because they force us to consider important questions and values, because they make us think about the kind of persons we are or want to be, these books are as much our heritage as the rules of arithmetic. I want you to become comfortable reading some of these books and eager to use them in forming your own education. The works we will read will include the Iliad and Odyssey, the histories of Herodotus and Thucydides, some Greek dramatists and Plato, the Aeneid, and selections from the Bible. Besides the readings and class discussions, you will be responsible for two short essays, an hour exam, and the final. (Lindner)

SECTION 005. Most of us in this class are shaped by what we loosely call our Western heritage; whatever else that may mean, it includes common roots in the Graeco-Roman and Judaeo-Christian traditions. These roots are shared assumptions embodied in the great epics (Iliad, Odyssey, Exodus), tragic dramas (of Aeschylus and Sophocles), histories (Herodotus), and philosophy (Plato) works which have influenced Western minds for centuries. Careful reading of these and other important works can lead to a deeper understanding of how our ancestors thought and felt and how these books have shaped our own assumptions about what it means to be human. This class will be concerned with making these works part of our own individual experience and our own "permanent and personal intellectual property" by reading, analysing, and discussing them and their effects on us. Students will be evaluated on class performance, three or more papers, a midterm and a final exam. (Crump)

291. Great Books of Modern Literature. Sophomores, juniors, and seniors in the College Honors Program. (3). (HU).

This course is designed to be a continuation of Great Books 192 for Honors sophomores and deals with books from the Renaissance to the present. Great Books 192 dealt thematically with the integration of the individual into larger institutions and traditions, and the sequel, Great Books 291 will deal with the subsequent resistance, repudiation, and withdrawal from such traditional communities. The specific reading list remains to be determined, but the most likely candidates would be: Cervantes, Don Quixote; Goethe, Faust; Dostoevsky, Crime and Punishment; Flaubert, Madame Bovary, Joyce, A Portrait of the Artist.

393. Great Books in Literature, Philosophy, and the Arts. (1). (HU). May be elected for a total of 3 credits under different topics.

THE HISTORIES OF HERODOTUS. This short course will meet October 15 through November 14 on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10:30 until 12 noon. Student grades will be based upon class participation, a short paper (5-7 pages), and an exam to be given in the last class meeting, Thursday, November 14th. Our text will be the Penguin edition of Herodotus, The Histories, and we will study and talk about the whole book. We will attempt to understand how and why Herodotus gave meaning to the events of the sixth- and early fifth-century B.C. Greek world that he describes. We will talk about such questions as: What does it mean to call Herodotus "the father of history"? What role do the gods play in human affairs? (Is Herodotus a theological historian?) What is the role of chance? Why is war seen as the critical collective experience as Herodotus focuses on the Great Persian War? We will talk a lot about Herodotus' view of what it means to be human, and his views on such values as freedom, responsibility, courage, justice, power, and goodness. Along the way we will also be entertained by such stories as those of Arion and the dolphin, the birth of Cyrus, the ring of Polycrates, how the Indians get their gold, and why the Scythians run away from battle when they see a rabbit. Herodotus will even tell us how to make a mummy and why the Persians finally chose "to live in a rugged land" rather than "to cultivate rich plains." These are just a few of the textual riches in this "great book" that we will be using to develop our skills of reading, interpretation, and criticism. (Wallin)


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