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Level 6

6AACTL17 Streetwise: narrating the city in classical literature

Credit  value: 30
Module convenor/tutor: Dr Pavlos Avlamis

Teaching pattern:  20 x 2-hour seminar (weekly)
Availability: Please see module list for relevant year
Assessment: 1 x 2-hour examination (50%), 1 x 4,000 word essay (50%)

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

Assessment pattern for Graduate Diploma students

Assessment: 2 x 4,000 word essay (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.

In antiquity, as much as in our time, the city provided one of the most pervasive and influential concepts and metaphors through which Greeks and Romans thought about their place in the world, social and political organisation, culture and nature, self and other, morality, and history. Streetwise is a module in  literature and cultural history that asks students to explore ancient representations of urban life and experience informed by current critical approaches to the city.

In Semester 1 we will explore a selective core of classical genres and the ways in which genre conditions the ways in which classical texts represent urban life and the city. Through this survey we will establish a form of literary history around urban representations and a range of literary cities.

We will then proceed in Semester 2 to bridge urban narratives across generic divides and bring in historical and cultural critical approaches to explore central elements of space in the ancient city: the home, the street, the theatre and amphitheatre, the public bath, the barbershop. We will then turn our attention to temporal dimensions and occasions in narratives of the ancient city: the night, the erotic city, ritual occasions, and work and routine.

Suggested introductory reading

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

Portions of texts to be studied in translation will be provided and will include selections from: Homer, Iliad and Odyssey;  Sophocles, Antigone;Euripides, Ion; Aristophanes, Birds;Theocritus; Propertius; Virgil, Aeneid; Horace, Satires; Ovid; Juvenal; Martial; Anonymous, Life of Aesop; Anonymous, Philogelos.

Books you may have frequent recourse to in this module:

  • G. Bachelard (1994) The Poetics of Space, with a new foreword J. R. Stilgoe. Boston
  • J. B. Burton (1995) Theocritus's Urban Mimes: Mobility, Gender, and Patronage. Berkeley
  • I. J. F. De Jong (2012) Space in Ancient Greek Literature: Studies in Ancient Greek Narrative. Leiden
  • G. W. Dobrov, ed. (1997) The City as Comedy: Society and Representation in Athenian Drama. Chapel Hill.
  • F. Dupont, (1994) Daily Life in Ancient Rome. Oxford
  • C. Edwards (1996) Writing Rome: Textual Approaches to the City. Cambridge
  • L. Foxhall and G. Neher (2013) Gender and the City Before Modernity. Oxford
  • T. Fuhrer, F. Mundt, and J. Stenger, eds. (2015) Cityscaping: Constructing and Modelling Images of the City. Berlin
  • W. Fitzgerald (2007) Martial: The World of the Epigram. Chicago
  • M. García Morcillo, P. Hanesworth and O. Lapeña Marchena, eds. (2015) Imagining Ancient Cities in Film: From Babylon to Cinecittà. London
  • K. Gilhully and N. Worman, eds. (2014) Space, Place, and Landscape in Ancient Greek Literature and Culture. Cambridge
  • A. Kemezis, ed. (2015) Urban Dreams and Realities in Antiquity: Remains and Representations of the Ancient City. Leiden
  • R. Laurence and D. J. Newsome, eds. (2011) Rome, Ostia, Pompeii: Movement and Space. Oxford
  • T. O’ Sullivan (2011) Walking in Roman culture. Cambridge
  • I. Ostenberg, S. Malmberg, and J. Bjørnebye, eds. (2015) The Moving City: Processions, Passages and Promenades in Ancient Rome. London
  • J. P. Toner (1995) Leisure and Ancient Rome. Cambridge
  • T. S. Welch (2005) The elegiac cityscape : Propertius and the meaning of Roman monuments. Columbus, OH
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