Spring 2013 - Undergraduate Course Descriptions

Derdeyn, LeeAnn
Discipline and Number
LIT 2331 Section 002
TR Time 1:00 PM - 2:15 PM
Course Title
Masterpieces of World Literature

Description of Course:

The canonical works we will be looking at this semester have survived for thousands of years. They are constantly being revisited, adapted, re-translated because they remain among the best in our literary tradition. The "best" literary works may be the best for various reasons. An aesthetic masterpiece may surprise us, intrigue us, invite insight. It may enable us to stand in for someone who is similar to or different from ourselves, to experience a world that is familiar or one which seems not our own. It may cause us to notice, to appreciate, sympathize, empathize, question, judge or withhold judgment. It may stir us with the power of our language: a shining detail, a beautiful sentence, a luminous paragraph or descriptive passage. The "best" works of literature explore--in some way--what it means to be human, the ways in which we find and lose ourselves, the ways in which we understand and misunderstand each other.

All that being said, how do we (or can we) come to know more about ourselves and to better think and express ourselves through worded works of art? How do we become better persons, better thinkers, better readers, and better writers? This section of Masterpieces of World Literature will focus on a series of tragic plays and epic poems that explore creatively-rendered historical accounts of what led up to the Trojan War and what occurred in its aftermath. We will look at synopsi of the Greek Myths to further understand the texts and their contexts. We will also look at filmic adaptations made in each of the last three decades to discuss how the successes and failures of these modernizations.

Required Texts:

* Homer. The Iliad and The Odyssey - Boxed set. Fagles, Robert, trans. NY: Penguin, 1999. ISBN 978-0-14-771255-4
(or individually: The Iliad ISBN 978-0-14-027536-0, The Odyssey ISBN 978-0-14-026886-7 or any Fagles translation in the Penguin Classic version)
* Aeschylus. The Oresteia. Fagles, Robert, trans. NY: Penguin, 1984. ISBN 978-0-14-044333-2


* A Grammar Guide of some sort.

Course Requirements/Evaluation Criteria:

Requirements include attendance, keeping up with reading, and engaged participation in all class discussion, as well as completion of in-class assignments and quizzes, a mid-term, and a final academic research essay of 7-8 pages.

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