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2018/19 Undergraduate Module Catalogue
CLAS3370 Satyrs and Donkeys: The Latin Novel
20 creditsClass Size: 24
Module manager: Dr Regine May
Taught: Semester 1 View Timetable
Year running 2018/19
This module is mutually exclusive with
|CLAS2370||Satyrs and Donkeys: The Latin Novel (Level 2 module)|
Module replacesCLAS3580 The Roman Novel, but it is a research-led module.
This module is approved as a discovery module
Module summaryThis 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.If there are any questions, please contact the Department of Classics.
ObjectivesOn 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
On completion of the module students should have provided evidence of being able to:
- understand and demonstrate coherent and detailed subject knowledge and competencies some of which will be informed by current research/scholarship in the discipline; this includes appropriate knowledge of historical and literary background of the ancient Latin novels and key scholarship on each author and the first and second century AD.
- deploy accurately standard techniques of analysis and enquiry within the discipline; students will be made familiar with different scholarly approaches to the Latin novels and will learn to apply them to their own analysis of the text.
- demonstrate a conceptual understanding which enables the development and sustaining of an argument;
- describe and comment on particular aspects of current research and/or scholarship;
- appreciate the uncertainty, ambiguity and limitations of knowledge in the discipline;
- make appropriate use of scholarly literature and primary sources;
- show a further enhanced knowledge of classical antiquity, by placing the Latin novels into the wider context of the Second Sophistic.
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.
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.
|Delivery type||Number||Length hours||Student hours|
|Private study hours||175.00|
|Total Contact hours||25.00|
|Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)||200.00|
Private studyThe 175 private study hours (taking away 25 contact hours) comprise of:
3.5 hours reading per lecture = 3.5 x 20 = 70
6 hours reading per seminar = 6 x 5 = 30
Assignment 1 (40%) = 40
Preparation for Exam (60%) = 35
Opportunities for Formative FeedbackStudent 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
|Assessment type||Notes||% of formal assessment|
|Essay||Not more than 3,000 words||40.00|
|Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)||40.00|
|Exam type||Exam duration||% of formal assessment|
|Standard exam (closed essays, MCQs etc)||2 hr||60.00|
|Total percentage (Assessment Exams)||60.00|
Reading listThe reading list is available from the Library website
Last updated: 24/04/2018
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