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. Great Books 201 will introduce the student to the lively, contentious intellectual and political world of classical Greek civilization. Beginning with the foundational epic poems of Homer, the Iliad and the Odyssey, written in the Archaic Age, we will then move to the civic arena of fifth-century B.C. Athens, where we will explore the plays of the Oresteia by Aeschylus and selections from Thucydides' History of the Peloponnesian War. Advancing into the fourth century B.C., we will grapple with the philosophy of Plato as found in three dialogues: the Apology, the Phaedo, and the Symposium. Requirements include two essays, two exams, and participation in discussions and debates, the lifeblood of the class. This class presupposes no knowledge of classical literature or classical history, seeks to allow the student to become privy to some of the most significant currents of thought emanating from the ancient world, and promises to hone everyone's rhetorical and literary skills. Cost:2 WL:4 (Myers)
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 common 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, anc 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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