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Encounters with Greek Texts

CX 113-15


Module Convenor: Prof David Fearn

Module Contributor: Dr Emmanuela Bakola

This module, taught in translation, introduces students to many different kinds of Greek texts written in a variety of genres and forms, including historiographical, epigraphic and rhetorical texts, and literary texts in poetry and prose, from the canonical to the marginal and ‘sub-literary’ (e.g. epigraphic/epigrammatic texts), categories whose definitions may have changed over time. As well as expanding awareness of the Greek texts Classicists study across different sub-fields (for instance, philology, archaeology, ancient history), the module will explore critically the range of methodologies and approaches used in the interpretation of ancient texts in their cultural and political contexts, and allow students to test out these skills in their own responses to texts.

What is it to read a Greek poem, for example, as a historian? What kinds of intellectual-emotional encounters might we have with ancient texts? What can they do for us, as Classicists? But also, what might they do to us, in terms of exposing us to different experiences and different ways of viewing the world that matter to us now? What do we know, and what can we never quite know, about ancient experiences of reading, listening to, or coming across a text, which might be studied in a library, performed in a theatre or recitation hall, or spotted on a wall or monument?

The module presumes no previous knowledge and is designed to fire students’ minds and imaginations so that they might be better informed in choosing an individual path of study at honours level. Each weekly 2-hr lecture will introduce a series of texts, themes and approaches, and two seminars will investigate two case studies in greater depth.

Module aims

Introduce students from diverse backgrounds to the range of themes, genres, and styles in Classical Greek literature, the interpretative challenges it presents, and the diverse methodologies used to investigate and attempt to understand it.