CLSL-264 Roman Elegy
Spring for 2017-2018
Elegiac poetry addressed a wide range of themes such as love, sadness, politics, and mythology. As such, it was a genre that allowed writers to reflect upon a broad range of the human experience, and, moreover, for the poets themselves to reflect upon their own representations of those themes. In some sense, this poetry is the most self-conscious art that we have from the ancient world, and this class will introduce students to poetry written primarily in the 1st c. BC by authors such as Catullus, Propertius, Tibullus, and Ovid. Students will become familiar with the ways in which poets create and innovate within the genre and within the metrical format of the elegiac couplet (a hexameter followed by a pentameter). Close attention will be paid to Latin diction and poetic style.
CLSL-264-01 Roman Elegy
Fall for 2017-2018
Treating myths, mistresses, leisure, and love, elegy flourished in Rome from the late Republic through the reign of Augustus, and the poetry created during this period was so esteemed that one Roman rhetorician could write, “In elegy, we rival the Greeks.” In this class, we will explore the development and the major themes of the genre through the works of two Latin elegists, Tibullus and Ovid. Tibullus, who wrote one of the earliest complete books of Roman love elegy to survive, was regarded by many as the finest elegist, while Ovid, who began his career writing love elegy like Tibullus, ended it in exile, where he reworked many of the genre’s traditional elements in his book of “Laments” (Tristia). We will consider questions such as: How do elegists balance working within a tradition with innovation and personal style? To what extent is this emotional poetry? How did elegy interact with other genres of Latin poetry?
Prerequisites: CLSL 101
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