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Level 5

5AACTL15 Homer's Odyssey

Credit value: 15
Module convenor/tutor 2018/19: Dr Pavlos Avlamis & Dr Ioannis Lambrou
Module convenor/tutor 2019/20: Dr Dan Jolowicz
Teaching pattern: 10 x 1-hour lecture (weekly) & 10 x 1-hour seminar (weekly)
Availability: Please see module list for relevant year
Assessment from 2019/20: 1 x 2-hour examination (100%)

Assessment pattern for Graduate Diploma/Study Abroad students 

2019/20 onwards:

  • Graduate Diploma students: 1 x 2,500 word essay (100%) 
  • Study Abroad students attending for only one semester, when this module runs in semester one: 1 x 2,500-word essay (100%), otherwise the standard pattern applies. Students should check the Study Abroad module catalogue for the relevant year for availability.

Pre 2019-20:

  • Study Abroad students attending for only one semester (when the module runs in semester 1): 2 x 2,000-word essays (100%, essays worth 50% each)
  • Graduate Diploma students: 2 x 2,000-word essays (100%, essays worth 50% each) . Students should check the Study Abroad module catalogue for the relevant year for availability.

 

The modules offered in each academic year are subject to change in line with staff availability and student demand: there is no guarantee every module will run. Module descriptions and information may vary between years.

The Odyssey, alongside the Iliad, stands at the beginning of Greek literature as a model and point of reference. Both poems defined the epic tradition from antiquity onwards, but also more generally inspired Greek and Roman culture and the later traditions that drew on classical culture. This module offers the opportunity to study the poem closely in English translation and to engage with its thematic preoccupations that unfold around the complex character of Odysseus.

The Odyssey is driven by its hero's conscious choice to reject immortality on Calypso's island and to return to 'the fleeting, ephemeral world to which he belongs' (J.-P. Vernant). Unlike Achilles' choice in the Iliad (against which the Odyssey positions itself self-consciously), Odysseus chooses to face the challenges of carrying on among the living and the poem accordingly explores issues of belonging, family, power, property, guilt, and the indispensable nature of storytelling in human life.

Core reading

Students will need to purchase their own copy of the set text:

  • The Odyssey of Homer. transl. with an introd. R. Lattimore (Harper, 2007)

Suggested introductory reading

This is suggested reading and purchase of these books is not mandatory.

  • L. E. Doherty, ed. (2009) Oxford Readings in Classical Studies: Homer’s Odyssey. Oxford
  • R. Fowler, ed. (2004) The Cambridge Companion to Homer. Cambridge
  • R. Rutherford (2013) Homer. 2nd edn. Greece & Rome New Surveys in the Classics 41. Cambridge
  • S. Said, (2011) Homer and the Odyssey. Oxford 2011
  • S. Schein, ed. (1996) Reading the Odyssey: Selected Interpretive Essays. Princeton

 

2017/18 Module Description: 5AACTL15 Homer

The two great epic poems ascribed to Homer, the Iliad and the Odyssey, stand at the beginning of Greek literature as models and points of reference that defined the epic tradition, but also more generally Greek and Roman culture and the later traditions that drew on classical literature. This module offers the opportunity to look closely in English translation at one of these two ‘classics’ (the focus alternates between the Iliad and the Odyssey from one academic year to another) and to study in depth the particularities of the poems and their thematic preoccupations as they unfold around two very different heroes, Achilles and Odysseus.

We will address issues of composition and structure, narrative and imagery, characterisation and heroism, social values and morality, the representation of the divine, political organisation, class, family, and gender. The module will consider the poems’ place within the cultural and historical context of the archaic period as well as explore some aspects of their later reception.

NB Interested students from departments outside Classics will need to contact the module convenor

In the academic year 2017-18 the module will focus on the Odyssey. Students are expected to have read the Odyssey in translation in its entirety before the start of the module.


Core reading

Students will need to purchase their own copy of the set text:

  • The Odyssey of Homer. transl. with an introd. R. Lattimore (Harper, 2007)

Suggested introductory reading

This is suggested reading and purchase of these books is not mandatory.

  • Doherty, L. E., ed. (2009) Oxford Readings in Classical Studies: Homer’s Odyssey. Oxford
  • Fowler, R., ed. (2004) The Cambridge Companion to Homer. Cambridge
  • Griffin, J. (2004) Homer: The Odyssey.2nd edn.; (ser.: Landmarks of World Literature) Cambridge
  • Morris, I., and B. Powell eds., (1997) A New Companion to Homer. Leiden
  • R. Rutherford (2013) Homer. 2nd edn. Greece & Rome New Surveys in the Classics 41. Cambridge
  • S. Said, (2011) Homer and the Odyssey. Oxford 2011
  • S. Schein, ed. (1996) Reading the Odyssey: Selected Interpretive Essays. Princeton

 

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