CLST 273G - Classical Tragedy - Women and Gender Focus
Fall Semester 2019
This Tier 2 Literary Knowledge course surveys selected masterworks of Classical Athenian tragedy
paying particular attention to concerns of women's
studies and gender. How do plays written for competition in civic festivals, for a community that
identified full civic participation as men's, not women's, deal with figures of women? What
capacity for action and choice do the women in Athenian tragedy exercise? How do their capacities
line up with Athenian culture's ideas about gender, more generally – how did the plays invite
their audience to stretch their thinking, and how do they invite us? We will read, discuss,
critique, perform, write, and seek to learn, how ancient plays' literary representations of
women and men illuminate transcendent concerns, including women's part in justice, human dignity,
the civic community, and cosmic order.
Our work will pursue four main aims (plus the fifth, of having fun
with all of them):
- Gaining literary knowledge, we will study a selection of extant Classical Athenian
tragedies, powerful literary works, as a means of exploring human experience and understanding the
creative process. These plays were applauded in their own day. They have become cornerstones of
Western theatrical tradition in Europe and beyond. And they can still blow your mind.
- Mastering intellectual tools, we will identify literary-critical concepts and technical
vocabulary relating to literary productions, Classical Athenian culture, and crucial ideas
of feminist inquiry. We will apply these concepts and this terminology to describing, analyzing,
and formulating arguments about our plays as cultural artifacts.
We will consider how the tensions between women's position in the mythology the plays depict, in
ancient Athenian traditions of theatrical representation, and in real
Athenian life compare with tensions in women's and men's lives, gender-ideologies, and artistic
representations in Classical Athenian and other cultures, including our own.
- Thinking critically, we will assess how literary techniques and formal qualities of
literary productions shape our plays, and thus also the ways the plays re-interpret traditional
stories for new cultural moments. Dramatists of all periods seek to solicit and challenge their
audiences through literary means.
- Synthesizing literary understanding through discussion, writing, and performance, we
will explore plays' multiple interpretive possibilities.
We will investigate texts' indications of how poets and their audiences lived in their world,
what they understood and believed about it, and the values they thought important.
Literature, legend, religion, history, and art operate all together, in
Classical antiquity just as they do now. Classical Studies foster skills of
multidimensional inquiry and integrative analysis; feminist criticism calls for
application of such skills to relationships of power and identity, both women's and men's, that
shape every aspect of our lives.
Monday - Wednesday - Friday, 9:20am-10:10am
Mundelein Center 603
Dr. Jacqueline Long
Office Hours: Sullivan Center 228, MWF 10:25am-11:15am, or by appointment
- Robert Bagg and James Scully, tr., The Complete Plays of Sophocles: a New Translation
(Harper Perennial 2011)
- Robert Fagles, tr., Aeschylus: Oresteia (Penguin Classics, 1966, 1967, 1975,
- James Morwood, tr., Euripides: Bacchae and Other Plays (Oxford
University Press 1999, 2008)
- James Morwood, tr., Euripides: Medea and Other Plays (Oxford
University Press 1997, 1998, 2009)
- James Morwood, tr., Euripides: The Trojan Women and Other Plays (Oxford
University Press 2000, 2009)
- additional resources on-line and in the library
Policies and Assessment
Schedule of Reading Assignments and Topics
Performances and Performance-Essays
Basics of Academic Life: Studying and introductory Research and Writing
Women and Gender, Drama and Theaters in the ancient Greek and Roman world
- First-Step Notetaking
- SQ3R for Primary-Source
Coursework: a method for effective studying
- Guide to
Writing Academic Papers: a strategic checklist devised by your
instructor (hint, hint)
- Guide to
Beginning Research on Topics in Classical Studies: suggestions and
- Loyola Libraries' Subject Guide
to Classical Studies, prepared by Classical Studies
Bibliographer Jane Currie: a research guide to help identify and access core research
resources relating to Classical Civilization, ancient Greek, or Latin.
Bibliographies Online - Classics: annotated bibliographies compiled by leading scholars; some
bibliographies focus on individual plays we are reading, as well as on our playwrights and other
topics relevant to theatre production and to Athenian culture.
Statement of Grading Standards. It credits the Rhetoric Program of the University of Illinois
at Urbana. Other universities also observe similar criteria: these expectations are held widely.
- Paul Brians, Common Errors in
English Usage, guide to confusions of words and English grammar the author, a retired professor
of English at Washington State University, dispatches graciously.
- Style Sheet: Mundane Good Habits of
- 1st edn. (1918) of William Strunk, Jr. and E. B. White,
The Elements of Style: print
editions have been updated and it's well worth getting a copy if you don't own one already,
but in whatever edition you use it, Strunk and White is the
classic guide to desirable American prose style.
- How to use apostrophes, or else.
- The the impotence of
proofreading by Taylor Mali.
Support-resources at Loyola University Chicago
- Diotima: a clearing-house of resources
on the Internet for the study of women and gender in the ancient world,
including much specifically relevant to Classical Athenian tragedy.
- Didaskalia: The Journal for Ancient Performance:
dedicated to the study of all aspects of ancient Greek and Roman performance (drama, dance, and music).
Advisory and Editorial Boards of
scholars in Classics and Theater. Published by
University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
- Living Poets: index of sources
and scholarship relating to ancient and modern representations of ancient poets including
Project directed by Prof. Barbara Graziosi, funded by the European
Research Council, and published from Durham University.
- Dates of extant Classical Athenian tragedies.
J's Illustrated Greek Theater: images and explanation of the parts
of a Greek theater, by Dr. Janice Siegel of Illinois State University.
Theatres: Roman theaters and discussions are relevant to us because the Romans appropriated
Greek culture for their own. (Note well the explanation about the difference between theatres and
amphitheatres: confusing them would be a shameful error in this class.) The photographs presently
included in the page are of Italian and African locations, but many Greek theaters too continued
to be used and were rebuilt during the Roman period. Part of
Curtius, a treasurehouse of on-line resources for Roman
archaeology, compiled by Bill Thayer.
- Perseus Project:
an evolving digital library for the study of the Greek and Roman worlds, especially
texts, language, and visual representations.
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Revised 20 August 2019 by