CLAS / LITR 106: Rome and America
Professor David Geherin
Professor James P. Holoka
This six-hour course provides a unique opportunity to fulfill both of the Basic Studies literature requirements through the comparison of two cultures. The goal is to discover common elements in, as well as key differences between, the two societies through analysis of their literatures. For example, students will read and discuss Roman and American satirical works to see what behaviors, institutions, or character types are targeted for humorous exposure; did the Romans ridicule the same sorts of personal foibles and social and institutional evils that we Americans do? Other reading assignments will bear on self-identifying myths in the portrayal of heroic characters: did the Romans associate heroism with the same qualities that we do? We will also discuss moral attitudes and personal lifestyle as depicted in novels and poems: did the Romans espouse ethical values or define personal happiness as we do? The course will encourage open and relaxed discussions; students will have plenty of opportunity, both in the classroom and in written assignments, to express opinions and concerns on topics raised in the readings. Lecture sessions will fill in historical and biographical background relevant to the featured authors. Grades will be based on three essay exams and three or four paper assignments (one research).