ENGL478E - Selected Topics in English and American Literature before 1800; The Story of Troy: An Ancient Tale Told and Retold

The title of this course should be taken in the broadest sense. It is not just about how the story was told by Homer. Rather, as we trace the story’s history from ancient times to the present, we also consider the larger issues:  why do people retell stories at all? how do we use older stories to think about what is happening now? and how are old stories repurposed for modern assumptions and expectations?

We begin, of course, with Homer’s Iliad, then survey ancient Greek and Roman versions of the story, explore its presentation as a medieval romance and Shakespeare’s cynical take on the Troilus and Cressida story, and examine modern uses of the story in poetry, short stories, novels, essays and films.                                                                                                                                                       

Course requirements include short assignments, including at least one short paper; a longer paper analyzing a modern retelling; participation in online and in-class discussion; and a group project with presentation.