Course: Western Literature to Dante

V Western Literature to Dante • 2016 listing - for reference only • Grade 8 or above • Literature Sequence
* Primary Instructor
Bruce McMenomy
* Sections
[Enrolled students will be notified if teacher schedules change between course posting at the time enrollment opens and the scheduled start of classes. Please see Tuition and Fees for refund policy.]
Section 1 Instructor: Bruce McMenomy
Classes meet from September 6, 2016 to June 2, 2017
Monday 1:00 PM to 2:30 PM ET
Enrollment Policy: Midyear Transfer Allowed
Tuition: $500.00

* Website
Please review more extensive materials at the teacher's Western Literature to Dante website.
* Description
An extensive exposure to the literature of the ancient and mediaeval West, from Biblical materials through mediaeval epic and romance. The course engages the student in a large amount of reading, exploring the larger themes and issues involved with reading such material. This course has been taught since 1996, and has often been cited by graduating seniors as their favorite class in the literature sequence. It is occasionally complemented by a Western Literature to Dante II course, which covers much the same time period, but going through a completely different assortment of literary products. The real emphasis is on reading a large volume of material and getting comfortable with the alien and familiar in cultures separated from us by long stretches of time. It also serves as an introduction to classical literature for those who are interested in pursuing Greek and/or Latin seriously.
* Meetings
This course meets once a week for discussion and review of assigned homework.
* Homework
The reading load should keep most students reading for an hour to an hour and a half a day. Some modest amount of memorization of a few names and dates per week will also require a bit of time, though if this is kept up it will probably not take more than five minutes per day.
* Prerequisites
None, though World Literature or a preliminary mythology course may be advantageous.
* Recommended background
None; a strong interest in the subject area and a willingness to read extensively - for a number of hours each week - are required to make a success of the course. It is not, however, conducted at such depth that the average student cannot handle it reasonably comfortably, provided only an ability to read reasonably well.
V Textbooks and Materials
* Mimesis: The Representation of Reality in Western Literature
Erich Auerbach, Willard R. Trask (tr.)
This text is required.
ISBN: 069111336X
Best sources: Scholars Online Bookstore
* Ten Greek Plays in Contemporary Translations
Levy Lind
This text is required.
ISBN: 0395051177
Best sources: Scholars Online Bookstore
Other information: Please use this edition for the plays it includes; other translations will cause confusion in class.
* The Aeneid (Penguin Classics)
Virgil, David West
This text is required.
ISBN: 0140449329
Best sources: Scholars Online Bookstore
Other information: Please do not resort to other translations; they tend to cause confusion in class.
* The Consolation of Philosophy (Edition: 2)
Anicius Manlius Severinus Bo√ęthius, tr. Victor Watts
This text is required.
ISBN: 0140447806
Best sources: Scholars Online Bookstore
* The Holy Bible: New International Translation
Various, NIV Commission (tr.)
This text is required.
ISBN: 0310906520
Best sources: Scholars Online Bookstore
Other information: You need some translation of the Bible for this course, preferably a reasonably modern one; it need not be this edition or this translation. I value the New International Version for its literal accuracy, though its language tends to be rather stiff and sometime slanted; the King James Version, while beautiful and a work of genius in its day, is laden with numerous pitfalls for the modern reader. The Revised Standard Version is reasonably sound, if you can get it; the New Revised Standard Version is riddled with politically motivated compromises of every sort.
* The Iliad (Penguin Classics)
Homer, Robert Fagles
This text is required.
ISBN: 0140445927
Best sources: Scholars Online Bookstore
Other information: Please do not resort to other translations; doing so makes referring to pages impossible, and creates unnecessary storms of opinion relating to translated forms. You may get any other edition of the Fagles translation required, though.
* The Nibelungenlied: Prose Translation
Anonymous, A. T. Hatto (tr.)
This text is required.
ISBN: 0140441379
Best sources: Scholars Online Bookstore
Other information: Please do not resort to other translations of this work; they tend to create confusions in class.
* The Odyssey (Penguin Classics)
Homer, D. C. H. Rieu, Peter V. Jones, E. V. Rieu
This text is required.
ISBN: 0140449116
Best sources: Scholars Online Bookstore
Other information: Please do not resort to other translations; they are likely to create confusion in class.
* The Portable Dante
Dante Alighieri, Mark Musa (tr.)
This text is required.
ISBN: 0142437549
Best sources: Scholars Online Bookstore
Other information: Please do not resort to other translations of this: it tends to create confusion in class. In addition, many other translations of Dante's Divine Comedy are very stilted and awkward, creating tonal and dictional problems of their own.
* The Saga of the Volsungs (Penguin Classics)
Anonymous, Jesse L. Byock
This text is required.
ISBN: 0140447385
Best sources: Scholars Online Bookstore
Other information: Please do not resort to other translations if possible: it tends to create confusion in class. (The translation by William Morris and Eirikr Magnusson is very archaic in diction and hence quite difficult for many students to read.)
* The Song of Roland (Penguin Classics)
Anonymous, Glyn S. Burgess (tr.)
This text is required.
ISBN: 0140445323
Best sources: Scholars Online Bookstore
Other information: Please do not resort to other translations if possible; they tend to cause confusions in class.
* Western Literature to Dante: A Parents' Guide (Edition: 3)
Bruce A. McMenomy
This text is required.
ISBN: 1448601290
Best sources: Scholars Online Bookstore
Other information: This is a handbook I have prepared for parents who have enrolled for the course, or who are considering it. It gives a complete rundown of course elements, pedagogical goals, study techniques, and background material on each unit to help parents evaluate the course's suitability or to guide their children through it.
* Mythology: Timeless Tales of Gods and Heroes
Edith Hamilton
This text is recommended; purchase and use is optional.
ISBN: 0446607258
Best sources: Scholars Online Bookstore
Other information: Not required, but encouraged for those who have no background in mythology: have this read over the summer.
* The Story of King Arthur and His Knights (Dover Storybooks for Children)
Howard Pyle
This text is recommended; purchase and use is optional.
ISBN: 0486214451
Best sources: Scholars Online Bookstore
Other information: Not required, but students who have no background in the Arthurian tales may benefit from reading this through before the second half of the course.


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