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Classical Traditions cancelled

ENGL 029.401

The Romantic poet Shelley once declared that, "We are all Greeks now".  By contrast, the twentieth century poet Louis Macneice challenged the idea that we can even understand what it was like to live in ancient Greece: "It was all so unimaginably different/And all so long ago." In this course, we will study what continuities there are between contemporary society and those of ancient Greece and Rome; the ways in which our culture is fundamentally different from theirs; and the reasons why medieval, early modern, and modern people have chosen either to look back to antiquity, or to turn away from it.  Is our identity shaped by the Greeks and Romans, or not?  And how did we get from their culture to our own?  We will survey different strands of the "classical tradition", ranging through literature, history, philosophy, art, science, language and psychology.  We will develop a "map" of different approaches to classicism, and also think about what the terms "classical" and "tradition" might mean.  Readings will include selections from Greek and Roman authors such as Sophocles, Catullus Ovid, Seneca and Plutarch (all read in translation), as well as some post-classical, mostly British authors, such as Chaucer, Shakespeare, Milton, Pope, Keats, Tennyson, and Yeats.