CLST 273 / WSGS 297 - Classical Tragedy with a focus on Women's Studies and Gender
Fall Semester 2012
This Tier 2 Literary Knowledge course surveys some of the masterworks of
Classical Athens' stage -a living basis of modern Western drama-
with a particular focus on concerns of women's studies and gender.
How do plays written for competition in civic
festivals, for a community that identified the capacity for full civic
participation as men's, not women's, deal with figures of women? What
capacity for action and choice do women in classical tragedy enjoy, in
comparison with men and in relationship to men? How are women's
actions and choices evaluated? Our primary material will be translated
texts of ancient tragedies; we will also assess selected pieces of
modern feminist criticism of classical tragedy and the world for which
it was initially written and performed. Discussion, research and
writing, and our own experiments in performance, will help us to see
through the literary representation of female figures on the ancient stage to transcendent
concerns to which the dramatic festival-competitions paid tribute, 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):
- To 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.
- To acquire critical and technical vocabulary relating to literary productions and crucial ideas
of feminist inquiry; and to 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.
- To 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 still seek to solicit and challenge their audiences through literary means.
- Through discussion, writing, and performance, to 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, 9:20-10:10 AM
Dumbach Hall 234
Dr. Jacqueline Long
Office Hours: Sullivan Center 228, WF 10:25-11:30 AM, or by
- Robert Fagles, tr., Aeschylus: Oresteia (Penguin Classics, 1966, 1967, 1975,
- David Franklin and John Harrison, ed. and tr., Sophocles: Antigone (Cambridge
Translations from Greek Drama, 2003)
- Peter Burian, ed., The Complete Sophocles II: Electra and Other Plays (Oxford
University Press 2009)
- 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)
- 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
- 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 in the relevant
fields, including a historical overview of our period (look under History, Roman: Late Antiquity), some of
our major primary sources, and a couple of important cultural topics
- Loyola Writing Program's
Statement of Grading Standards. It credits the Rhetoric Program of the University of Illinois
at Urbana; other universities also observe similar criteria (e.g., this outline from Harvard University's
Center for Teaching and Learning): these expectations are held widely.
- 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.
- 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
- 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.
- Page concerned (despite the title that appears at the top of it) with
Theatres: Roman theaters and discussions are relevant to us because the Romans appropriated
Greek culture for their own. The photographs presently included in the page are of Italian and
African loacations, 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.
Revised 13 August 2012 by