Great Books Courses (Division 382)

201. Great Books. No credit granted to those who have completed or are enrolled in Gt. Bks. 191 or Classical Civ. 101. (3). (HU).

SECTION 001. Explore the nature of human identity in the classical and Christian traditions in four great epics Homer's ILIAD and ODYSSEY, Vergil's AENEID and Dante's DIVINE COMEDY as well as the ORESTEIA of Aeschylus and St. Augustine's CONFESSIONS. We will examine the great problems and tensions of the human condition, from the consequences of Achilles' choice in the ILIAD to the final vision of the Divine in Dante; self-definition, human will and choice, love and death, and the relationship between the human and the divine. We will also use these authors to develop critical skills of analysis in discussion, reading and writing. The format of the course will be group discussions with some lectures; one paper (6-8 pages) and a midterm and final examination will be required. (McLetchie)

Section 002. If you come to this course in Great Books expecting to receive as Virginia Woolf would say "a nugget of pure truth," you may be surprised (or even disappointed!) to discover that what these "classic" texts have in come is not an ultimate answer or a universal value system, but rather a number of related questions, conflicts, and dilemmas. However, as we read the lyrics of Sappho, Homer's ILIAD and ODYSSEY, Thucydides the historian, the dramas of Aeschylus, Euripides, and Aristophanes, and finally several of Plato's dialogues, we will discuss not only the issues they raise (from the nature of love and desire to the nature of a healthy society, from conflicts on the battle field to conflicts of gender), but also how the authors use their various genres, their styles, plots, and characters, their images and metaphors simultaneously to address these issues and to create pieces of literary art. The class will operate as a discussion interspersed with "mini-lectures," so you should come prepared to take an active part in the conversation. Course requirements will consist of one short (3-5 page paper, one medium (6-8 page) paper, a midterm and a final exam as well as consistent class participation. (Herman)


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