Term: Summer 2007
Time: 2:00-4:45 p.m. TWR
Prof. G. Steinberg
Office: Bliss 216
Office Phone: 771-2106
Office Hours: by appointment
TCNJ E-mail Username: gsteinbe
COURSE DESCRIPTION. An introduction to ancient Greek mythology through Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey. We focus on the Trojan War cycle of myths and its greatest heroes in order to understand how the ancient Greeks explored important aspects of their society through literature that ostensibly presents mythological events and characters. Attention is also given to differentiating the ancient Greek concept of “myth” from our own. We will begin by reading about myth as a concept. How do myths differ from legends and folktales? What are myths about? Why do people tell and retell myths? Why do we study myths? Then, we will read the Iliad and the Odyssey as two particular retellings of myth. What are the mythic elements of the larger narratives in the Iliad and Odyssey? What more specific myths are retold along the way within the broader sweep of those larger narratives? What can we learn about the role of myth in ancient Greek culture from the Iliad and the Odyssey? How does an awareness of myth inform or alter our interpretation of the Iliad and the Odyssey as literature? How does an awareness of myth impact our reading of other stories, including modern stories that are not necessarily thought of as mythic?
GOALS. In terms of my goals for this course, I want you
REQUIREMENTS. This course has the following graded assignments:
- 7 two-page response papers (altogether worth 20% of your final grade),
- PAPER 1 (20%),
- PAPER 2 (30%), and
- a comprehensive final exam (30%).
ATTENDANCE. Regular attendance is a virtual necessity for successful completion of this class. Class discussion constitutes important, useful preparation for your graded work. If you miss a class, you will essentially lose out on that day’s contribution to your preparation, since it is never really possible to reproduce or recapture the dynamics and flow of information for a missed class meeting (even if you get notes from someone). If, however, you positively must miss a class, I expect you to find out what you missed and to come fully prepared – without excuses – to the next class meeting. And please, don’t ask, “Did I miss anything?” Check out Tom Wayman’s poem about that question.
OFFICE HOURS. My office is Bliss 216, and my office hours this summer are by appointment. Feel free as needed to call my office (771-2106) or to talk to me before or after class to arrange an appointment. You may also contact me by email (through SOCS), or you may leave a message for me in my English department box in Bliss 124. Email is generally the fastest and best way to contact me.
EMAIL. I may, on occasion, want to e-mail everyone in class. I generally only have access to your TCNJ e-mail addresses, however. As a result, if you regularly use an e-mail address other than your TCNJ address, I recommend that you have mail from your TCNJ address forwarded to the address you use more regularly. That way, if I e-mail your TCNJ address, my message will be forwarded to your other address automatically. To forward mail from your TCNJ address, go to http://managemail.tcnj.edu/ and click “Mail Forwarding Manager.” Follow the directions there to set up the mail forwarding.
If you would like to send an e-mail message to one or more of your classmates, you can do so through SOCS. To access SOCS, go to http://socs.tcnj.edu and, after you have logged in with your TCNJ e-mail username and password, choose this class from the list of your courses this term. Then, when our course page comes up, click the “Email” button. From there, you can select individual e-mail addresses or the entire class and send a message to the address(es) you’ve selected.
Accommodations. The College of New Jersey prohibits discrimination against any student on the basis of physical or mental disability or perceived disability. The College will also provide reasonable and appropriate accommodations to enable students with disabilities to participate in the life of the campus community. Individuals with disabilities are responsible for reporting and supplying documentation verifying their disability, and requests for accommodations must be initiated through the Office of Differing Abilities Services (Eickhoff Hall 159). If you require special assistance, I will make every reasonable effort to accommodate your needs and to create an environment where your special abilities will be respected.
RESPONSE PAPERS. In the course of the term, you are required to write 7 short, informal papers (about 2 pages each) on the readings for class from Homer. You may choose for which days you want to write a response paper, as long as you have completed 10 response papers by the end of the term. For each response paper, choose one of the following topics and analyze the reading assignment from Homer for the day with respect to the topic you’ve chosen:
Response papers will be graded Pass/Fail. I ask you to type them (so that they are easier for me to read), but they need not be a perfect, polished product. Rather, response papers should be just what their name says – a response. Think about the topic you have chosen from the list above and the particular day’s reading assignment; then, write a response. Don’t worry about answering every question I ask in the list of topics above. In fact, focus on the one question that seems most interesting to you, and be as specific as you can, getting down as much as you can, as quickly as you can. Treat response papers more like a journal entry than like a formal paper. I don’t want a five-paragraph theme. Rather, I want an exploration – as detailed and specific as possible – of the reading assignment for the day. Normally, as long as you submit a response paper of suitable length, detail, and thoughtfulness (and as long as you submit it in class on the proper day), you will receive all the credit that the response paper is worth (i.e., a 100%).
You may submit more than 10 response papers in the course of the term (to make up for any response papers that do not receive a grade of “Pass”), but no matter how many extra response papers you submit, you will not receive credit for more than 10. You may not submit more than one response paper on a single day, nor may you submit a response paper for a day that you are absent from class. (NOTE: Even if you do not submit a response paper on a particular day, you should still come to class prepared to discuss the topics above, since we will focus on those topics in our in-class discussion of the reading assignment from Homer for the day.)
PAPER 1. Choose an episode or scene that we have not discussed in class but that seems very important to you in terms of developing a theme, character, or idea in the Iliad. Write a short paper (4-5 pages) in which you argue a clear and specific thesis about your chosen scene and its significance in the poem. As you think about what to write, I strongly recommend that you use your response papers as a starting place. Once you’ve chosen a focus for your paper, look very carefully at your scene. Look for details that reveal or illustrate the significance of the scene in terms of your chosen focus. Use those details as evidence and illustration in your paper. Note: You need not use outside sources for this paper (that is, sources in addition to Homer); in fact, I would encourage you not to use outside sources (because I'd rather hear what you think than what some published scholar thinks).
Your paper will be evaluated according to the following criteria (in order of relative importance):
PAPER 2. As with PAPER 1, choose an episode or scene that we have not discussed in class but that seems very important to you in terms of developing a theme, character, or idea in the Odyssey. Write a paper (4-6 pages) in which you argue a clear and specific thesis about your chosen scene and its significance in the poem. As with PAPER 1, I strongly recommend that you use your response papers as a starting place. PAPER 2 will be graded based on the same criteria as PAPER 1. Note: You need not use outside sources for this paper (that is, sources in addition to Homer); in fact, I would encourage you not to use outside sources (because I'd rather hear what you think than what some published scholar thinks).
COURSE SCHEDULE. This schedule is subject to change at the discretion of the professor. Changes made after the beginning of the term will be shown in red.
|T 10 Jul||Introductions; selections from Bronislaw Malinowski and Walter Burkert (available in SOCS)|
|W 11 Jul||selections from Bruno Bettelheim (available in SOCS); Iliad, Books 1-2|
|R 12 Jul||Iliad, Books 3-5|
|T 17 Jul||Iliad, Books 6-9|
|W 18 Jul||Iliad, Books 10-12|
|R 19 Jul||Iliad, Books 13-15|
|T 24 Jul||Iliad, Books 16-19|
|W 25 Jul||Iliad, Books 20-22|
|R 26 Jul||Iliad, Books 23-24; Odyssey, Books 1-2|
|F 27 Jul||THESIS PARAGRAPH for PAPER 1 DUE (optional). Email me a rough draft of your paper’s first paragraph OR a brief description of what you plan to write about in your paper, and I will send you feedback on your ideas and plans.|
|M 30 Jul||PAPER 1 DUE in the “Dropbox” of SOCS|
|T 31 Jul||Odyssey, Books 3-6|
|W 1 Aug||Odyssey, Books 7-10|
|R 2 Aug||Odyssey, Books 11-14|
|T 7 Aug||Odyssey, Books 15-18|
|W 8 Aug||Odyssey, Books 19-22|
|R 9 Aug||Odyssey, Books 23-24; FINAL EXAM|
|F 10 Aug||THESIS PARAGRAPH for PAPER 2 DUE (optional). Email me a rough draft of your paper’s first paragraph OR a brief description of what you plan to write about in your paper, and I will send you feedback on your ideas and plans.|
|M 13 Aug||PAPER 2 DUE in the “Dropbox” of SOCS|
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