Professor Alice Behnegar                                                                                                                                  2002-2003
HP001-04, Sections 12, 13                                                                                                                              MWF 9, 11

WESTERN CULTURAL TRADITION I-IV

We do not know how we ought to live, but we want to know. We read the great books of the west because we hope to learn from them what the best life is – what human flourishing or excellence or virtue is.

Of course, we do not know before we begin whether there is such a thing as “the best life.”  But the only way to know anything – the only way even to know if we can know anything – is to take our longing to know seriously and allow that seriousness to lead us into an honest inquiry.  In this course we explore that longing and begin that inquiry with the help of the diverse and alien (thus, potentially liberating) accounts of man and the world offered by ancient and medieval Jewish, Christian, and pagan works.
 

Required Texts – Fall

Walker Percy, The Moviegoer
Homer, The Odyssey (Penguin – Fagles)
Plato & Aristophanes, Four Texts on Socrates (Cornell – West)
Achebe, Things Fall Apart
Homer, The Iliad (Penguin – Fagles)
Sophocles, Sophocles II (Chicago – Grene & Lattimore)
Virgil, The Aeneid (Bantam – Mandlebaum)
Shakespeare, Three Roman Plays (Penguin)
Course Pack:  Plato, Republic I & II, selections from Symposium, Phaedrus; Aristotle, Ethics IV(iii)-(v);
           Cicero, On Duties I
 

Course Requirements and Grading – Fall

This is a seminar and preparation, attendance, and participation are mandatory.  You may miss class without penalty only for serious medical or family reasons.

Written work will consist of eight short (3-page) papers worth approximately 60% of your final grades, one long (8-page) paper worth approximately 20%, and a comprehensive final exam worth approximately 20%.  The grades calculated on the basis of your written work may be adjusted as much as one whole step up or down (e.g. from B/B to A/A or A/A to B/B) to reflect the quality of your class work.
 

Schedule of Readings and Assignments – Fall

September   4     Introduction
September   6     no class (make-up TBA)

September   9     The Moviegoer                             short paper (The Moviegoer)
September 11     same
September 13     Odyssey 1-4

September 16     Odyssey 5-8
September 18     Odyssey 9-12
September 20     Odyssey 13-16

September 23     Odyssey 17-20                            short paper (Odyssey)
September 25     Odyssey 21-24
September 27     Republic I                                                 (Parents’ Weekend)

September 30    Republic I
October      2     Republic II
October      4     Republic II

October       7     Symposium & Phaedrus             short paper (Republic)
October       9     same
October     11     The Clouds

October     14     no class
October     16     The Apology
October     18     same

October     21     same                                             short paper (Apology)
October     23     Things Fall Apart 
October     25     same

October     28     Iliad I      also read: Ajax, Ethics      short paper (Iliad)
October     30     Iliad I-III
November   1     Iliad IV-VI

November   4     Iliad IX  also read: Philoctetes
November   6     Iliad XVI-XIX
November   8     Iliad XX-XXIV                            short paper (Iliad)

November 11     Aeneid 1-3
November 13     Aeneidalso read: On Duties
November 15     Aeneid 5-6

November 18     Aeneid 7-8                                    short paper (Aeneid)
November 20     Aeneid 9-12
November 22     Coriolanus

November 25     Coriolanus                       LONG PAPER (Odyssey or Iliad or Aeneid)
November 27, 29 no class

December     2     Julius Caesar
December     4     Julius Caesar  
December     6     Antony and Cleopatra

December     9      Antony and Cleopatra               short paper (Shakespeare)

December 18, 12:30 p.m. FINAL EXAM (Section 12)
December 13, 9 a.m.  FINAL EXAM (Section 13)