Classics 230 :  Latin Poetry of the Republic and Early Empire
Course Catalog No: 30262
308C Doe Library
Kathleen McCarthy


The Aeneid

The Aeneid can be daunting in its status as a literary monument and yet it also can seem overly familiar, reduced to tattered arguments over its pro- or anti-Augustan ideology. In this seminar, we will make use of the perspectives offered by narrative theory in an attempt to grapple with the poem, in part by restoring its strangeness and complexity. The seminar will include an introduction to the basic premises and tools of (various kinds of) narrative theory, along with discussion of its assumptions and the limitations of its methods. The emphasis of the seminar, however, will be on a series of case studies of specific episodes or issues in the poem (e.g., methods of characterization, the use of speech/silence, overt narratorial interventions, temporal expansion and contraction), that will give us insight into the poem’s structural features and generate new ways to conceive of the poem’s effects for readers, either ancient or modern. Students should have a good familiarity with the whole poem in translation before the seminar starts, since we will be reading passages out of context.