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CO200 – Topics in Comparative Literature: Homeric Epic

A comprehensive study of the oral epics, The Iliad and The Odyssey.


Professor, Moses Giles Professor of Classics Owen Cramer email

As oral traditional poems, The Iliad and The Odyssey are preservers of Bronze Age and archaic lore, and the locus of the creation of classical Greek culture and predecessors of European epic. Reading the Old Masters is one pleasure of the class, but Professor Cramer’s class will take the oral epic much further--looking into the poetics, sociology, psychology, the formula, themes, type-scenes of the genre, and come to understand the various receptions of Homer throughout history. Originally written in ancient Greek, students will be reading in English with attention to the formal Greek diction and the problems of translation. However, students who know Greek will read parts of the original text. Finally students will study what has made the Homeric epic such classic texts in the modern world, with sharp thought about the implications of war poetry—war and homecoming.

Also listed as: CL218