CLSL-308-01 Advanced Latin Reading: Vergil's Eclogues and Georgics
Fall for 2016-2017
This class, a complement to the semester-long course on the Aeneid (CLSL 310), is devoted to continuous reading of Vergil’s early works, the Eclogues and Georgics. The Eclogues are a collection of ten bucolic poems representing an ideal countryside where shepherds and other rustic figures dialogue in hexameters; under the pretense of pastoral simplicity, a rich poetic diction and a complex system of values are summoned to discuss matters ranging from love to politics, from sorrow to the relevance of literature for life. The Georgics are four books of didactic poetry, i.e. a genre meant to teach the readers a specific discipline – in this case, farming. Despite the apparently prosaic subject, the poem subtly deals with important questions of ethics, politics, and intellectual history, and does so with ample use of literary devices such as the tale of Orpheus in the Underworld, which has inspired many later authors in the history of European arts. Finally, a quick look will be given at some of the texts that, after Vergil’s death, were wrongly attributed to him but which represented Vergil’s earliest works for centuries after his death.
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