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Course details Epic Tradition

Main sections of the module

1. Homer, Iliad (weeks 2-5)

2. Homer, Odyssey (weeks 7-10)

3. Virgil, Aeneid (weeks 11-14)

4. Milton, Paradise Lost (weeks 15-19)

5. Walcott, Omeros (weeks 20-22)

Lectures 2016-17

Lectures will take place on Thursdays at 12 noon in room H.052

Click here for lecture list

Module requirements

All students must attend lectures and seminars, having prepared material as directed by your tutor.

1. First-year students must submit: two unassessed essays and one unassessed commentary AND sit a three-hour examination (100%).

2. Honours level students taking this course must submit: EITHER two assessed essays of 5,000 words OR one assessed essay of 5,000 words (50%) and sit a two-hour examination (50%), answering questions 1 and 2 only (see below).

3. Visiting students:

a) those students attending for the full year and taking the module for credit are to be assessed as if for Honours level (see 2. above)

b) those part-year students who are visiting for one or two terms only must submit one 3,000 word essay for each of the term/s for which they are present.



1. Write comparatively about two pairs of parallel passages drawn from any of the five core texts (34%)

2. One essay making a comparative literary response to some of the core texts studied, from a choice of essay questions (33%).

3. For first-year students only: one essay about the themes, attitudes and literary techniques of epic in relation to an unseen passage (33%)


Course outline

This outline aims to show what primary reading is required. Tutors will give direction on which particular books need to be read. The module bibliography (given below) provides a list of secondary materials from which you can select further reading.

Autumn term 2016

Week 1 Introduction to the course

Weeks 2-5 Homer, Iliad (6 books each week)

Written assignment: a commentary exercise of c. 1,500 words consisting of comparison between two sets of extracts is due in Week 7 (for first-year students).

Weeks 7-10 Homer, Odyssey (6 books each week)

Written assignment: a 2,500-3,000 word vacation essay on Homer is due in Week 1 of the Spring Term (for first-year students).

Spring term 2017

Weeks 1-4 Virgil, Aeneid (3 books each week)

Weeks 5-9 Milton, Paradise Lost (3 books each week)

Week 10 Walcott, Omeros (book 1)

Written assignment: a 2,500-3,000 word essay on Virgil and/or Milton to be handed in at the end of Week 10 (for first-year students).

Summer term 2016

Weeks 1-3 Walcott, Omeros (books 2-7)