CLSS-220-01 Sexuality and Love in Greek Literature
“I want you!” “I love you !” What did these words mean to the ancient Greeks & Romans? Was love—eros or amor—indistinguishable from sex, just a physical function, or could you think in higher terms about that old black magic that pulls two beings together? How—on what terms or in what sense—could love result in tragedy? What was the etiquette of desire: could you pursue just anybody or were there rules to the game? When the ancients looked at the human body, what struck them as desirable? For that matter, what struck them as masculine or feminine behavior?
This course explores such questions through a series of readings including personal lyric, Greek tragedy and Roman comedy, literary representations of bourgeois romance, and philosophic texts by Plato and Augustine. In class discussions we re-construct the ancient Greek and Roman cultures of love, desire, and sexuality, and compare our own culture’s constructions.
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