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Level 7

7AACM212 Homeric presences in Greek poetry and shorter prose since 1890

Credit value: 20 credits
Module convenor/tutor: Professor Gonda van Steen (2018/19)
Assessment: 2 x 2,500 word essays (50% each)

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

Teaching pattern: 10 x 2-hour seminars (weekly)
Availability: Please see module list for relevant year

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.

Places on this module will be capped at 16 and will be allocated in the first instance to those students from any College who are following the MA Classics degree programme or the MA The Classical World and its Reception degree programme. Any remaining places up the maximum size of the class will then be distributed proportionally between Colleges.

‘Greek the language they gave me. Poor my house on Homer’s sandy shores.’ One of Greece’s two Nobel Prize-winning poets, Odysseus Elytis, gave expression to the feeling that the modern Greek writer’s world might be at once founded on and overshadowed by the Homeric poems. This module aims to present a rounded picture of an intriguing case in classical reception studies and is also designed to be of interest to those working in Comparative Literature.

The module covers, in broadly chronological order a representative range of poets from the end of the nineteenth century to the present. Among the poets included are the nationalist poet Kostis Palamas, the Alexandrian modernist C.P. Cavafy, the late Romantic Angelos Sikelianos, the high Modernist George Seferis, and the Surrealist Nikos Engonopoulos. The force of Homeric allusion as deployed by politically aware poets since the Second World War and Civil War (1946-1949) forms an integral part of the discussion: Yannis Ritsos, Aris Alexandrou, and Takis Sinopoulos. Likewise, contemporary Christianizing appropriations of the Odyssey by Zissimos Lorenzatos and Dimitris Kosmopoulos are examined.

A marked novelty in the module is the inclusion of shorter prose texts fuelled by Homeric allusion: the authors include Michail Mitsakis (1892), Alexandros Papadiamantis (1910),  Andreas Embiricos, N.G. Pentzikis, Yorgos Ioannou, Thanassis Valtinos, Dimitris Kalokyris, and Michalis Ganas.

English translations are supplied for all texts.

Suggested introductory reading

Most texts are supplied in a portfolio of translations by the module convenor. (The Greek originals are not cited here.)

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

  • Katerina Zacharia (ed.), Hellenisms (Ashgate 2008)

  • Barbara Graziosi and Emily Greenwood (eds), Homer in the Twentieth Century (OUP 2007)

  • David Ricks, The Shade of Homer (CUP 1989)

  • C.P. Cavafy, Collected Poems (tr. Evangelos Sachperoglou, OUP)

  • George Seferis, Collected Poems, tr. Edmund Keeley and Philip Sherrard (Princeton UP)

  • Yannis Ritsos, Repetitions, Testimonies, Parentheses (tr. Edmund Keeeley, Princeton UP)

  • Portfolio of poems (1895-2008) by Kostis Palamas, Angelos Sikelianos, Nikos Engonopoulos, Aris Alexandrou, Takis Sinopoulos, Dimitris Kosmopoulos

  • Portfolio of shorter prose texts (1888-2008) by Jean Psichari, Michail Mitsakis, Alexandros Papadiamantis, Andreas Embiricos, Nikos Gabriel Pentzikis, Zissimos Lorenzatos Yorgos Ioannou, Thanassis Valtinos, Dimitris Kalokyris, Michalis Ganas

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