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2016/17 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

CLAS3370 Satyrs and Donkeys: The Latin Novel

20 creditsClass Size: 30

Module manager: Dr Regine May
Email: R.May@leeds.ac.uk

Taught: Semester 1 View Timetable

Year running 2016/17

Module replaces

CLAS3580 The Roman Novel, but it is a research-led module.

This module is approved as a discovery module

Module summary

This module aims to introduce the student to the Latin novels of the 1st and 2nd century AD. We will study first the Satyrica by Petronius as an example of the sophisticated satirical novel making fun of the newly rich at the time of Nero and their literary and social aspirations. The Golden Ass by Apuleius is one of the masterpieces of Latin literature and has been influential on authors like Shakespeare. Both authors allow their heroes to move in a lower-class milieu filled with socially climbing characters and fantastic adventures, including a series of exploits of a sexual or magical nature. Petronius' hero tries to idealise his unstable homosexual relationship along the lines of romantic Greek love stories and fails spectacularly. Apuleius' hero, turned into a donkey by magic, explores the underbelly of Graeco-Roman society through his changing owners, until he is re-transformed into human form by a goddess of a rather dubious nature whose devotee he becomes. In the lectures we will explore the various literary-historical, political, religious, philosophical, social and intertextual perspectives which shed light on the two novels, with a concentration on literary predecessors of the texts, ranging from the idealistic Greek novels to the Roman mimes. In the Seminars we will study specific scenes taken from the novels in detail.For further information, contact the Department of Classics, situated on the first floor of the Parkinson Building, south end (email: classics@leeds.ac.uk; website: www.leeds.ac.uk/classics/; telephone: 0113 343 3537).

Objectives

On successful completion of this module, students are expected to be able to:
- discuss, both orally and in writing, the development of the Roman novel in the first two centuries AD, taking into account the literary-historical, political, religious, social and intertextual perspectives;
- explore parallels with Greek texts and assess the relationship of the 'novel' genre within the development of literature in the early Roman empire;
- assess the importance of the ancient novel for the development of the currently most important literary genre, the modern novel

Learning outcomes
On successful completion of this module, students are expected to be able to:
- discuss, both orally and in writing, the development of the Roman novel in the first two centuries AD, taking into account the literary-historical, political, religious, social and intertextual perspectives;
- explore parallels with Greek texts and assess the relationship of the 'novel' genre within the development of literature in the early Roman empire;
- assess the importance of the ancient novel for the development of the currently most important literary genre, the modern novel

Skills outcomes
On successful completion of this module, students are expected to be able to:
- demonstrate a range of subject-specific skills, including an ability to analyse critically various forms of texts (especially different genres of literature or subliterary texts, e.g. inscriptions) and relate them to each other where appropriate;
- demonstrate a range of transferable skills, including written expression and the organisation of personal study.


Syllabus

This module offers the student the opportunity to investigate two of the earliest extant novels of the western world, the Satyrica by Petronius and the Golden Ass by Apuleius.

During the 1st and 2nd century AD, the Greeks developed a new genre, a long, fictional prose text concentrating on the experiences of a loving couple, whose lives and loves are explored in detail in the Greek novels, and whose adventures are often described in a highly intertextual way to link the protagonists to the exploits of the heroes of literature long past, e.g. Homer's Odyssey or ancient tragedy, although the protagonists never give up their essentially bourgeois nature.

The two Latin novels by Petronius and Apuleius react in many ways ironically and self-referentially to the Greek idealistic love stories. They subvert the genre by letting their protagonists move in a lower-class milieu filled with socially climbing characters and fantastic adventures, including a series of exploits of a sexual or magical nature. Petronius' hero tries to idealise his unstable homosexual relationship along the lines of the loving couple of the idealistic Greek novel and fails spectacularly. Apuleius' hero, turned into a donkey by magic, explores the underbelly of Graeco-Roman society through his changing owners, until he is re-transformed into human form by a goddess of a rather dubious nature whose devotee he becomes.

The Latin novel will be studied as a starting-point for the exploration of both social anxieties in ancient Greece and Rome, and the important literary genre of the novel, which it helped shape and which is still most prevalent in the modern world.

The two main texts to be studied will be supplemented by excerpts from Greek novels and pictorial material, to place the novels into the contemporary material and literary culture of the Second Sophistic.

The lectures for this module will seek both to build up knowledge of the times of the early Roman empire and the Second Sophistic, and to establish a conceptual framework in which to understand the ironic and often self-referential environment of the Latin texts.

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Lecture201.0020.00
Seminar51.005.00
Private study hours175.00
Total Contact hours25.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)200.00

Private study

80 hours - reading per lecture (20 x 4 hours)
15 hours - reading per seminar (5 x 3 hours)
50 hours - assignment 1 (40%)
30 hours - preparation for Exam (60%)

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Student progress will be monitored:
- at an informal level, through lectures, seminar contributions and detailed module questionnaire;
- at a formal level, through the summatively-assessed assignment.

Methods of assessment


Coursework
Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
EssayNot more than 2,500 words40.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)40.00

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated


Exams
Exam typeExam duration% of formal assessment
Standard exam (closed essays, MCQs etc)2 hr 60.00
Total percentage (Assessment Exams)60.00

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 20/04/2016

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