This course name and description ONLY applies to academic year 2016-2017

CLAS 13186-1: Ancient Emotions

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Instructor: Blake Leyerle

Ancient literature shows an intense interest in the topic of emotions. Epic and drama delved into the question of why people react as they do, and philosophers and rhetoricians explored how feelings could be aroused and dispelled. In this seminar, we will read and discuss an assortment of these ancient texts, ranging from the “case studies” provided by Homer, Euripides, and Sophocles, and the influential definitions of emotions penned by Aristotle and Galen, to the various therapeutic strategies urged by classical writers, such as Seneca and Plutarch, as well as early Christian preachers, such as Basil of Caesarea and John Chrysostom. Throughout the semester, we will bring modern studies of the emotions (in film as well as print) and current therapeutic approaches into dialogue with these ancient sources. Requirements include creative and analytical writing assignments, participation in the staging of a dramatic scene, and an objective midterm and final exam.