Loyola University Chicago CLST 283 - Writing Intensive
Classical Comedy and Satire

Spring Semester 2003

In this Core Literature, Writing Intensive course we will survey humorous literature of Greek and Roman antiquity. What did they laugh at? How did they use laughter to make social, political, or philosophical commentary? What else was it good for? What does their laughter tell us about the Greeks and Romans? What does it tell us about us?

Our work will pursue four main aims (plus the fifth, of having fun with all of them):

Good Taste Alert

Much of Greco-Roman humor involves sex and gastro-intestinal functions, sometimes very explicitly. It also often involves insulting ridicule of individuals and groups. Sometimes the categories overlap. Not all of it is for everyone: if you find this material unbearably offensive, you may wish to study Classical Mythology, Tragedy, or Heroes and Epics instead.

Although we will read, study, and discuss this material in class, considering what in it the Greeks and Romans found funny and how they used humor, we must also keep an intellectual distance: we live in a different world, in which respect for others must be paramount in class and elsewhere. It is not worth discussing whether the ancient Greeks and Romans were "wrong" or "right"; we should consider how their senses of humor reveal their attitudes and systems of values.

Monday - Wednesday - Friday, 1:30-2:20 PM
Damen Hall 441
Dr. Jacqueline Long

Office Hours: MWF 9:30-10:20 AM, Crown Center 553
e-mail: jlong1@orion.it.luc.edu


Schedule of Reading Assignments and Topics

Policies and Assessment

Additional Resources

  • Didaskalia: Ancient Theatre Today: a web-site and journal dedicated to the study of ancient Greek and Roman theatre in performance, and to the legacy of ancient theatre. Edited by Sallie Goetsch and C. W. Marshall.
  • Dr. J's Illustrated Greek Theater: images and explanation of the parts of a Greek theater, by Dr. Janice Siegel of Illinois State University.
  • Index of Vital Information on Roman Theatres, including a rich array of links. Part of Lacus 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.
  • Diotima: a clearing-house of resources on the Internet for the study of women and gender in the ancient world: including much that is relevant to Classical comedy and satire.

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Loyola University Chicago

Revised 9 January 2003 by jlong1@orion.it.luc.edu