In this seminar, we will read and discuss a landmark of world literature, the epic poem from ancient Greece called the ILIAD. Its events take place over only a few weeks in the tenth year of the legendary Trojan War, and the story turns on the anger of the Greek warrior Achilles and its consequences. In our reading, we will have the opportunity both to learn about the world depicted within the poem, so different from our own, and to see how the poem grapples with problems of enduring relevance, including violence, justice, mortality, human attachment, and the purpose of life.
There are no written assignments in this course; the only requirements are that you 1). complete the weekly readings, 2). think about them, and 3). on the basis of your reading and thinking, contribute actively and constructively to our in-class discussions. The weekly reading assignments will be reasonable in length, but it is important that we have read and thought about them; for this reason, it would be a good idea not to take part in this seminar if you are looking for a seminar that does not involve reading.