COML 191: Classics of the Western World I
Fulfills General Requirement III: Arts & Letters
Tuesday 4:30-7:10, Williams Hall 25

Instructor: Daniel E. White
Office and Office Hours: Williams Hall 412, Friday 1:30-3:00
Home Phone: 561-3063 (Discretion is advised!)
Class Listserv:

Class Focus: In this course we will examine selected classic works of Western culture, epic and tragedy in particular, investigate the nature of a "classic" and the sort of work "the classics" do for us, and cultivate our writing and analytical skills.

Texts: All required texts are available at the PENN BOOK CENTER.

Requirements: Two papers (5-7, 7-10 pp.); Oral presentation; Class and listserv participation

Listserv Response: Each week I will provide several study questions (linked as well to individual class dates, below) to assist you in your reading and to frame our discussion for the following week. Please send to the class listserv a brief but considered response to the first study question provided. Unless you are the first person to respond, please respond to both the question and the preceding response. You are of course free to discuss other responses, in addition to the one immediately preceding your own.

Grading: Your grade will be a combination of the two papers (60%), oral presentation (20%), and class and listserv participation (20%). I expect you to attend each scheduled class, emergencies excepted, of course. Each unexcused absence up to three will result in a progressive lowering of your final grade, and if you miss three or more meetings, you will receive an F for the course. Finally, if you have difficulty engaging in public discussion and debate, please see me.

September 9 Introduction

September 16 Homer, Iliad, Books I-XII

September 23 Homer, Iliad, Books XIII-XXIV

September 30 Homer, Odyssey, Books I-XII

October 7 Homer, Odyssey, Books XIII-XXIV

October 14 Fall Break

October 21 Virgil, Aeneid; Topic and Thesis for Paper #1 due

October 28 Aeschylus, Agamemnon, The Libation Bearers, The Eumenides

November 4 Sophocles, Oedipus the King, Oedipus at Colonus, Antigone; Paper #1 due (5-7 pp.)

November 11 Euripides, Electra, The Phoenician Women, The Bacchae

November 18 Augustine, The Confessions; Topic and Thesis for Paper #2 due

November 25 Dante, Inferno, Cantos I-XVII

December 2 Dante, Inferno, Cantos XVIII-XXXIV; Paper #2 due (7-10 pp.)