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Level 5

5AACTL46 Latin Lyric Poetry

Credit value: 15
Module convenor/tutor: Dr Victoria Moul
Teaching pattern: 10 x 2 hour seminars (weekly)
Availability: Please see module list for relevant year
Assessment:
 1 x 2 hour examination (100%)

Students are reassessed in the failed elements of assessment and by the same methods as the first attempt.

Assessment pattern for Graduate Diploma/Study Abroad students only

The assessment pattern below applies for Semester 1-only Study Abroad students (when the module runs in Semester 1). Study Abroad students otherwise follow the undergraduate assessment pattern listed above. 

Assessment: 2 x 2,000-word essays (100%, essays worth 50% each)

Students are reassessed in the failed elements of assessment and by the same methods as the first attempt.

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 Latin lyric poetry of Catullus and Horace represent two distinct but nevertheless closely related and extremely influential models of lyric expression. This module will focus on a representative selection of poetry by these two foundational authors, with particular attention to sub-types of lyric including: erotic verse, invitation poems, poems of abuse, political praise poetry and hymns. We will begin by considering what makes a Latin poem 'lyric' and the relationship between the Latin lyric project and Ancient Greek lyric. Throughout the course, we will combine close attention to the text (in translation) of a selection of prescribed poems with attention to the social, political and cultural contexts in which these poems were written, and the various ways in which they have been interpreted.

There is a long tradition of Latin lyric poetry after Catullus and Horace, and we will also look at some examples of later Latin lyric and the uses to which these lyric forms were put in subsequent periods. Towards the end of term we will consider to what extent the Latin lyric tradition is connected to or distinct from our own modern assumptions and ideas about the function of lyric poetry.

Suggested introductory reading 

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

Students who wish to do some preparatory reading over the summer can make a start by looking at some of Horace’s Odes and/or Catullus’ short poems in any translation (e.g. Penguin), or even online. The Penguin editions Catullus in English and Horace in English are particularly rewarding, and offer a chance to compare various translations of the best known poems, although they can be hard to get hold of unfortunately.

If you wish to make a beginning of secondary reading, you could look at:

  • Julia Haig Gaisser, Blackwell Introduction to Catullus (2012)
  • Stephen Harrison (ed), Cambridge Companion to Horace (2007)
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