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Term 1: ‘One Poem, Four Readings’ (2,500 words total). 25% of module mark


An exercise in scholarly engagement, helping students to further develop their interpretative writing skills, especially in connecting close-reading of complex literary texts with broader developments in the history of criticism. Students are asked to present the translation of one text of their choosing from the prescribed list below, along with four excerpts from the bibliography provided, presented in chronological order of publication, as specified per excerpt by the module convenor) pertinent to the text selected (up to 1,500 words), and then write up to 1,000 words of discussion of their own about the significance of the four bibliographical excerpts for broader interpretative trends and issues in scholarship.

There will be at least one 'training session' in class on this, illustrated by an example from the module convenor, prior to the submission deadline. All bibliographical excerpts will be made available in hard copy from the module convenor.

Text 1: Stesichorus, Geryoneis fragment 19 lines 31–47

The Four Readings:

Kelly, A. (2015) ‘Stesichorus’ Homer’, in Finglass and Kelly (eds.) Stesichorus in Context (Cambridge), 21–44.

Finglass, P. J. (2015) ‘Stesichorus, master of narrative’, in Finglass and Kelly (eds.) Stesichorus in Context (Cambridge), 83–97.

Schade, G. (2015) ‘Stesichorus’ readers: from Pierre de Ronsard to Anne Carson’, in Finglass and Kelly (eds.) Stesichorus in Context (Cambridge), 164–85.

Fearn, D. W. (forthcoming) ‘The allure of narrative in Greek lyric poetry’ in J. Grethlein, L. Huitink and A. Tagliabue (eds.) Narrative and Experience in Greek Literature.

Text 2: Sappho fragment 2

The Four Readings:

Bowra, C. M. (1961) Greek Lyric Poetry (2nd edition), 175–205 esp. 196–8.

Burnett, A. P. (1983) Three Archaic Poets: Archilochus, Alcaeus, Sappho (London), 259–76.

Gentili, B. (1988) Poetry and its Public in Ancient Greece (Baltimore), chapter 6 (pp. 72–104).

Gurd, S. A. (2015) Dissonance: Auditory Aesthetics in Ancient Greece (New York), 5–17.

Text 3: Ibycus, Ode to Polycrates (S151 SLG / 282a PMG) lines 23–end

The Four Readings:

Barron, J. P. (1969) ‘Ibycus: To Polycrates, Bulletin of the Institute of Classical Studies 16: 119–49.

Goldhill, S. (1991) The Poet’s Voice: Essays on Poetics and Greek Literature (Cambridge), 116–19.

Hardie, A. (2013) ‘Ibycus and the Muses of Helicon’, Materiali e discussioni per l'analisi dei testi classici 70: 9–36.

Spelman, H. (2018) Pindar and the Poetics of Permanence (Oxford), 164–6.

Text 4: Pindar, Pythian 1 lines 1–24

The Four Readings:

Kurke, L. (1991) The Traffic in Praise: Pindar and the Poetics of Social Economy (Ithaca, NY), chapter 8 (pp. 195–224).

Athanassaki, L. (2009) ‘Narratology, deixis, and the performance of choral lyric. On Pindar’s First Pythian Ode’, in J. Grethlein and A. Rengakos (eds.) Narratology and Interpretation: the Content of Narrative Form in Ancient Literature (Berlin), 241–73, esp. 241–9.

Fearn, D. W. (2017) Pindar’s Eyes: Visual and Material Culture in Epinician Poetry (Oxford), chapter 3 (pp. 168–228), esp. 168–89 and 200–2.

Payne. M. (2018) ‘Fidelity and farewell: Pindar’s ethics as textual events’, in F. Budelmann and T. Phillips (eds.) Textual Events: Performance and the Lyric in Early Greece, 257–74.

Terms 2–3: 4,000-word extended essay: titles released before the Christmas vacation. 50% of module mark


Term 3: 1-hour summer exam. 25% of module mark

Commentaries in translation / translation + commentary (original Greek students), testing close-reading skills on selected excerpts.