Skip to main content

Unit information: The Legacy of Classical Literature in 2015/16

Please note: you are viewing unit and programme information for a past academic year. Please see the current academic year for up to date information.

Unit name The Legacy of Classical Literature
Unit code CLAS22364
Credit points 20
Level of study I/5
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 1 (weeks 1 - 12)
Unit director Dr. Lampe
Open unit status Not open




School/department Department of Classics & Ancient History
Faculty Faculty of Arts

Description including Unit Aims

This aim of this unit is to consider the continuing life of classical texts: the ways in which they have been read and interpreted in later centuries, set up as models and drawn upon by later writers as authorities, inspirations, influences and enemies. We shall be tracing the changing values placed on 'classics' and the classical, the changing popularity of different ancient authors, and the changing dynamics of their reception - including the moments when classics come to be seen as an impediment to creativity or as a problem. We shall also be exploring different theories and approaches to the study of classical texts and their afterlife, including reception theory, postcolonialism and feminism. Post-classical authors covered may include Geoffrey Chaucer, Dante, John Milton, William Shakespeare, Jean Racine, Johan Wolfgang von Goethe, Friedrich Nietzsche, James Joyce, Virginia Woolf, Jean Cocteau, Federico Fellini, Pier Paolo Pasolini, Derek Walcott, Wole Soyinka and Alice Oswald.

Intended Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this unit, students should:

  1. Have gained knowledge of a wide range of texts and/or images revealing the legacy of classical literature in later periods.
  2. Have developed an advanced understanding of the theoretical issues involved in studying the reception and legacy of the classical world in later times.
  3. Be able to use the knowledge acquired in lectures and through their own researches to construct coherent, relevant and persuasive arguments on different aspects of the subject.
  4. Have had an opportunity to develop their skills in oral and written communication appropriate to level I, in small groups and general discussion, and in an essay and a written exam.

Teaching Information

1 x 1 hour lecture and 1 x 1 hour seminar per week

Assessment Information

1 x essay of c. 2,500 words (50%) and 1 x 90 minute exam (50%). Both elements will assess ILOs (1) (2) (3) and (4). The coursework essay in particular will offer students the opportunity to demonstrate ILO (3).

Reading and References

  • Bloom, Harold. 1997. The Anxiety of Influence: A Theory of Poetry. 2nd ed. New York & Oxford.
  • Hinds, Stephen. 1998. Allusion and Intertext: Models of Appropriation in Roman Poetry. Cambridge.
  • Martindale, Charles. 1993. Redeeming the Text: Latin Poetry and the Hermeneutics of Reception. Cambridge.
  • Steiner, George. 1998. After Babel: Aspects of language & translation. 3rd ed. Oxford.