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Level 6

6AACTL09 Performance Literature in Antiquity

Credit value: 30
Module convenor/tutor 2019/20: Dr Daniel Jolowicz
Teaching pattern: 1 x 2-hour class (weekly)
Availability:  Please see module list for relevant year
Assessment: 1 x 3-hour exam (100%)

Assessment pattern for Graduate Diploma students

2019/20 onwards: 2 x 3,000-word essays (higher marked essay is weighted at 60%, while the lower is weighted at 40%)

Pre 2019/20: 3 x 3,000-word essay (100%, essays worth 1/3 each)

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.

Some of the most exciting advances in twentieth-century classical scholarship stem from the realisation that many of the masterpieces of ancient literature had not been originally intended for private reading but for public performance. This course offers you the opportunity to look at a variety of ancient texts from a 'performative' viewpoint, placing particular emphasis on the notion of performers, performance space, gender-in-performance and spectators. The module will explore ancient ‘song’ culture (for example, this could include performance of sympotic and epinician poetry); the importance of the rhapsode; ancient Greek drama; sophistry, rhetoric and declamation.

Suggested introductory reading

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

Preliminary Reading:

The module will not take any prior knowledge for granted, but you will find it very helpful to have a good overall understanding of periods, genres and (to a lesser extent) authors of both Greek and Roman literary production. Over the summer you may wish to have a look at, e.g.:

  • O. Taplin (ed), Literature in the Greek and Roman Worlds: A New Perspective (Oxford 2000)
  • T. Whitmarsh, Ancient Greek Literature (Cambridge 2004)
  • O. Taplin, Greek Tragedy in Action (London, 2002)
  • E. Fantham, Roman Literary Culture from Cicero to Apuleius (Baltimore and London 1996)
  • Barchiesi and W. Scheidel (eds), The Oxford Handbook of Roman Studies (Oxford 2010)
  • G. Boys-Stones, B. Graziosi, and P. Vasunia (eds), The Oxford Handbook of Hellenic Studies (Oxford 2010)

Books you may have frequent recourse to in this module:

  • E. Hall, The Theatrical Cast of Athens: Interactions Between Ancient Greek Drama and Society (Oxford 2006)
  • S. Goldhill, and R. Osborne (eds.) Performance Culture and Athenian Democracy (Cambridge 1999)
  • M. Revermann and P. Wilson(eds) Performance, Iconography, Reception: Studies in Honour of Oliver Taplin (Oxford 2008)
  • Rehm, R. The Play of Space: Spatial Transformation in Greek Tragedy (Princeton 2002)
  • P. Easterling and E.Hall (eds), Greek and Roman Actors: Aspects of an Ancient Profession (Cambridge 2002)
  • E. Hall and R.Wyles (eds), New Directions in Ancient Pantomime (Oxford 2008)
  • I. Lada-Richards, Silent Eloquence: Lucian and Pantomime Dancing (Duckworth 2007)
  • R. Webb, Demons and Dancers: Performance in Late Antiquity (Cambridge MA 2008)
  • F. Zeitlin, Playing the Other: Gender and Society in Classical Greek Literature (Chicago and London 1996)
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