Gallus papyrus
Latin 117 :  Elegiac Poetry
308C Doe Library
Kathleen McCarthy
12:30 - 2:00

The elegiac couplet is a kind of cousin to dactylic hexameter, and Roman poets found its distinctive rhythm appealing for several different kinds of poetry: most famously, the romantic fantasies invented by Propertius, Tibullus, and Ovid, but also the more varied tones of epigram, and even a didactic poem about the Roman calendar! In this class, students will get a thorough grounding in “love elegy,” but we will sample the other types as well. Most of these poems foreground an engaging first-person speaker, a feature which will offer us the opportunity to think about the meaning of the “personal” in Latin poetry. The focus will be on reading the Latin text, but we will also read and discuss modern scholarship. There will be a short writing assignment (less than 5 pp.), and a longer paper (8-10pp) near the end of the semester, plus regular quizzes, a midterm, and a final exam.