English 190

Research Seminar: Note new topic: Troy and Tragedy

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
7 Fall 2016 Perry, R. D.
TTh 11-12:30 54 Barrows Pre-1800 Requirement
Middle English
Renaissance and Early Modern
Research Seminars

Book List

Chaucer, Geoffrey: Troilus and Criseyde; Lydgate, John: Troy Book: Selections; Shakespeare, William: Hamlet; Shakespeare, William: Richard II; Shakespeare, William: Troilus and Cressida; Virgil: The Aeneid

Other Readings and Media

Additional materials, available online


Note the new topic (and book list and instructor):

From the earliest moments of the western literary tradition, the story of the fall of Troy has been associated with the genre of tragedy. This course charts that association from Ancient Rome to Early Modern England. Along the way we will consider the changing nature of the genre of tragedy and its relationship to another genre, the epic. As we consider the changing notions of tragedy throughout history, we will explore in turn whether or not we understand history as anything other than a variety of tragedy. We will wonder, following Shakespeare's Richard II, whether tragedy is something more than sad stories about the death of kings. And ultimately, we will ask, along with Hamlet, what's Hecuba to us, or we to her, that we should weep for her?

We will begin with what is arguably the most tragic ancient retelling of the Troy story in VIrgil's epic, The Aeneid. From there, we will turn to Shakespeare's blending of tragedy and history in his play, Richard II, about the monarch who ruled while Chaucer wrote. We will then look at Chaucer's version of Troy, Troilus and Criseyde, in addition to the one by John Lydgate, his most prominent medieval successor. Finally, we will look at Shakespeare's version of Chaucer's poem, as well as his reflections on Troy in what may be the paradigmatic work of modern tragedy, Hamlet.

This section of English 190 satisfies the pre-1800 requirement for the English major.

Please read the paragraph about English 190 on page 2 of the instructions area of this Announcement of Classes for more details about enrolling in or wait-listing for this course.

Other Recent Sections of This Course

Spring, 2018
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190/1 Research Seminar: Trials of Literature: Romanticism, Justice, and the Law Langan, Celeste
190/2 Research Seminar: James Joyce Flynn, Catherine
190/3 Research Seminar: Hawthorne & Melville Tamarkin, Elisa
190/4 Research Seminar: Reading Walden Carefully Breitwieser, Mitchell
190/5 Research Seminar: Harlem Renaissance Wagner, Bryan
190/6 Research Seminar: Sixty Years Since: The Historical Novel Kolb, Margaret
190/7 Research Seminar: Contemporary Historical Fiction Yoon, Irene
190/8 Research Seminar: Literary Theory and Its Objects Creasy, CFS
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190/10 Research Seminar: Pagan Fictions in Christian Literature Hobson, Jacob
190/11 Research Seminar: Andrew Marvell Picciotto, Joanna M
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190/1 Research Seminar: Britain in the ‘60s Gang, Joshua
190/2 Research Seminar: The Historical Novel Puckett, Kent
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190/10 Research Seminar: Suspicious Mind Best, Stephen M.
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190/1 Research Seminar: The Urban Postcolonial Ellis, Nadia
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190/1 Research Seminar: Emily Dickinson Shoptaw, John
190/2 Research Seminar: Slow Seeing / Slow Reading Hejinian, Lyn
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