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CL7047: Homer and the Canons of Antiquity

Homer is the foundation of the literary canons and thought of ancient Greece and Rome. In this course we will explore selected themes in Homer, such as mortality and death, excellence and competition, religion, social order, and gender, the body, subjectivity and more, with emphasis on the genealogy of traditions, historical time, ideology, politics, aesthetics the tensions between ancient and modern and reception. The course will incorporate close readings of the text of Homer with discussions of broad themes as well as various aspects of critical thought from philology to post-human theory.

This module requires the completion of assignments as directed by the lecturer. All assignments are compulsory.

  • Module Organiser:
    • Prof Ahuvia Kahane
  • Duration:
    • Hilary Term (Jan-April)
  • Contact Hours:
    • 22 (1 x 2-hour seminar p.w.)
  • Weighting:
    • 10 ECTS
  • Assessment:
    • 100% Continuous Assessment

Introductory Reading

  • Edwards Mark, W. 1987. Homer, Poet of the Iliad, Baltimore, MD.
  • Graziosi, B. and E. Greenwood, eds. 2010. Homer in the Twentieth Century – Between World Literature and the Western Canon, Oxford.
  • Guillory, J. 1993. Cultural Capital: The Problem of Literary Canon Formation, Chicago.
  • Kahane, A. 2012. Homer: A Guide for the Perplexed, London.
  • Kahane, A., M. Mueller, C. Berry and B. Parod. The Chicago Homer,
  • Lord, A. B. 1960. The Singer of Tales, Cambridge, MA.
  • Nagy, G. 1997. The Best of the Achaeans, Baltimore, MD.
  • Schein, S. L. 1984. The Mortal Hero: An Introduction to Homer's Iliad, Berkeley, CA.

Learning Outcomes

On successful conclusion of this module, students will:

  • Acquire a good understanding of key issues in the poetry of Homer and the role of these issues and of Homer within the canonical tradition of Greek and Roman antiquity.
  • Become familiar with the texts of Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey, both generally and with reference to specific, key elements, in translation but with some pointed reference to Greek terms (the module is not a Greek-language or language-based course and doe not require language training)
  • Become familiar with a range of relevant ancient and contemporary critical skills in the study of texts, poetry and poetics, the social and political resonance of texts, literary history and the history of ideas.
  • Explore and understand notions of literary history, canon and genre.