Graduate course English 830 (Allegory and Epic) is in danger of being cancelled due to low enrollment. If you are interested in taking this course, please register very soon.
Here is the class listing:
Eng. 830: Allegory and Epic (76093)
T. 5:00-7:00 p.m.
Dr. Robert Forman
The course will quickly but closely read the four primary epics of classical antiquity: Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey, Apollonius’s Argonautica, and Vergil’s Aeneid. What will concern us most, however, will be the variety of critical approaches to them that has appeared during the last fifty years.
The long-held position that oral literature as typified by Homer was a privileged singularity is now generally considered to have been refuted by Milman Parry. We will analyze Homeric formulas using Parry’s metrics.
The interplay of Hellenistic Greek and first-century B.C.E. Roman epic is also fertile ground for modern critical approaches. Apollonius’s characterization of Medea, one might argue, contributed mightily to Vergil’s portrait of Dido, odd as that may seem. We will examine Donald Norman Levin’s arguments.
Finally, we will compare the conservative Brooks Otis approach to Vergil’s Aeneid (essentially structural) with the mathematical analysis of George Duckworth that it inspired. Then we will conclude by considering the iconoclastic Homeric Lens approach to the Aeneid of Edan Dekel, aimed primarily at the “odyssean” (1-6) and “iliadic” (7-12) halves of Vergil’s poem as discerned by Viktor Pöschl.
Students will write short but documented responses to each of these critical positions and a final major paper that considers some limited aspect of one of these poems from a critical perspective of their choosing.