Literature, Art And Material Culture – The Historical Thread – Part 1
The course will explore the literature, art, and material culture of Europe, with reference to thirteen key texts from the ancient world: Homers Iliad; Virgils Aeneid; Aeschyluss The Persians; Euripidess The Trojan Women; Herodotuss Histories; Thucydidess The Peloponnesian War; Livys History of Rome; Julius Caesars Commentaries on the Gaulish War; Tacituss Histories; Suetoniuss Lives of The Twelve Caesars; Plutarchs Lives; Josephuss The Jewish War; and Procopiuss The Secret History. It will focus on the influence that each of these texts had on those that followed; and on the complex and changing inter-relationships between literature, the visual and performing arts, and material culture in European culture and society.
Who is this course for
No prior knowledge is necessary, but a good understanding of English is essential.
We will be discussing the following books, some or all of which you may wish to buy and read in your own time:
R. Fagles (trans) & Homer, The Iliad, Penguin Classics.
R. Fagles (trans) & Virgil, The Aeneid, Penguin Classics.
A. Somerstein (trans) & Aeschylus, The Persians, and Other Plays, Penguin Classics.
M.I. Finley (trans) & Thucydides, The History of the Peloponnesian War, Penguin Classics.
E. Hall (trans) & Euripides, The Trojan Women and Other Plays, Penguin Classics.
J. Marincola (trans) & Herodotus, The Histories, Penguin Classics.
R.M. Ogilvie (trans) & Livy, The Early History of Rome, Penguin Classics.
C. Hammond (trans) & Julius Caesar, Seven Commentaries on the Gaulish War, Oxford World Classics.
R. Ash (trans) & Tacitus, The Histories, Penguin Classics.
R. Graves (trans) & Suetonius, The Twelve Caesars, Penguin Classics.
P. Stadter (trans) & Plutarch, Greek Lives, Oxford World Classics.
M. Smallwood (trans) & Josephus, The Jewish War, Penguin Classics.
What does this course cover
We will begin by looking at the concept of 'historical' literature in global perspective; and at key issues of literary influence, and inter-relationships between different forms of cultural and creative expression. We will then examine each of the key texts on its own terms; in the context of the times and places in which they were produced; and in terms of their broader influence in the definition and transformation of national and European cultures. We will explore the invention, endurance, appropriation, and modification of tradition in response to changing social, political, and religious ideas; and the way in which such traditions continue to develop and influence the Modern World.
By the end of this course, you should be able to:
' Explain the concept of 'historical' literature, with reference to key texts in the ancient Greek and Roman tradition.
' Identify a range of influences of one text on another; and of specific literary works on other forms of cultural expression (painting, sculpture, material culture, music, drama).
' Contribute to a discussion on the historical, philosophical, and political ideas that underpin key literary works.
' Define key ideas in literary criticism and art history.
' Use the knowledge gained on the course to identify aspects of ancient Greek and Roman thought that continue to influence the cultural life of the Modern World.
What will it be like
Each week there will be an informative talk using PowerPoint; readings from the key texts and related works; and group discussion of issues arising from those texts. You will be encouraged to share your thoughts and ideas in a relaxed and friendly environment. Occasionally homework reading will be provided. Although this is not an accredited course leading to a formal qualification, you will be encouraged to complete a self-assessment form in which you can monitor your progress.
What else do you need to buy or do
All the materials for the course will be available to you via the Moodle page for the course. You are advised to bring some note-taking materials to each session
What this course could lead to
The next course in this series examines the Historical Thread in the Medieval and Early Modern Worlds. You may also consider other Literature, History, Philosophy or other Humaities and Social Sciences courss
I've been to many Centres to study in London and the Mary Ward Centre is one of the nicest I've studied in.MWC student
This course has concessions available for people who meet certain criteria
Got a Question about this Course?
Contact The Departmental Administrator.
Why choose Mary Ward?
Mary Ward Centre is the adult education centre with a difference. We provide a wide range of subjects for people at all levels and run courses during the day, evening and weekends to suit your timetable. You can learn face to face at one of our centres (Bloomsbury or Waterloo) or take an online course
Get inspired and enjoy excellent teaching in an environment where each individual’s learning experience is valued. That’s what makes Mary Ward Centre ‘the friendly place to learn.’