Professor Phillip Mitsis
We will examine a selection of ancient, Byzantine, and modern Greek texts that cover a period of almost three thousand years. The focus will be on close critical readings of works in the light of current literary, historical, and philosophical approaches, ultimately to assess their application to important human concerns--death, political power, sex and gender, religion, knowledge, etc. Students also will be encouraged to reflect on what gives rise to various canons of literature, what they exclude, and what these works help to clarify or make more obscure through their particular assumptions and textual strategies. In addition to the Greek texts themselves, we will not only look at how they sometimes have functioned in narratives of European cultural hegemony, but also how writers such as Wole Soyinka, Anne Carson, Tawfiq al-Hakim, and Harryette Mullen have enlisted them to destabilize those very same narratives. Readings include Sappho, Stesichorus, Sophocles, Euripides, Thucydides, Plato, Apollonius of Rhodes, Synoptic Gospels, Anna Komnene, Digenes Akritas, Rhoides, Papadiamantis, Kazantzakis, and Dimoula.