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Unit information: Studying Written Texts in 2015/16

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Unit name Studying Written Texts
Unit code CLAS12367
Credit points 20
Level of study C/4
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 1 (weeks 1 - 12)
Unit director Dr. Zajko
Open unit status Not open




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


This unit aims to give students confidence in their reading by helping them to develop their skills in thinking and writing about literary texts. It is designed to broaden students' knowledge of ancient literature by introducing them to a range of poetic and prose genres from archaic Greece, Hellenistic Egypt and first century BC Rome. It also aims to help with the transition from school to university by introducing some of the major ideas and themes relevant to study at this level, such as the use of historical context, attention to the forma structure of the text, and how relations between texts are constructed through intertextuality and literary tradition. It also aims to aid students in developing skills they will need for successful completion of their degree e.g. use of the library; compilation of bibliographies; how to reference and footnote; how to use secondary literature; how to construct an argument.

Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of this unit students will have developed:

  1. confidence in their reading of ancient sources;
  2. techniques for reading, thinking about, and writing about literary texts; #introductory knowledge of some of the major ideas and themes relevant to reading ancient literary texts; (4) skills in the use of the library; compilation of bibliographies; referencing and footnoting; constructing coherent arguments in writing.

Teaching details

2 x 1-hour seminar per week.

Assessment Details

Three written assessment tasks; a critical assessment of a short poem (approx. 500 words, 20 marks); a book review (approx. 1,500 words, 30 marks), a piece of literary criticism (approx. 2000 words) 50 marks, each assessing skills in ILOs (1) (2) (3) and (4).

Reading and References

References Further information: Primary texts will be supplied in a unit handbook. Authors will include

  • Homer, Odyssey
  • Pindar, Victory Odes
  • Callimachus, Aetia
  • Theocritus, Idylls
  • Horace, Odes
  • Vergil, Eclogues

Seconary reading will be available online. Students will also find the following book useful:

Andrew Bennett & Nicholas Royal. 2009 An Introduction to Literature, Criticism and Theory. Fourth Edition. Longman.