Module Catalogue 2019/20

CAC2054 : Epic Journeys: The Odyssey and Homeric Epic (stage 2)

  • Offered for Year: 2019/20
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Susanna Phillippo
  • Owning School: History, Classics and Archaeology
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semesters
Semester 2 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0
Pre Requisites
Pre Requisite Comment

N/A

Co Requisites
Co Requisite Comment

N/A

Aims

The Odyssey: marvellous voyage with a fairy-tale ending, or grim battle for survival in a world of shifting rules? The Homeric epics derive from a long oral tradition, and while they stand at the very beginning of western literature, they are complex and multi-faceted works which have been interpreted in many different ways. This module will examine the Odyssey in the context of the early Greek epic tradition surrounding the Trojan War legend, and, more specifically, will explore its relationship with the other great Homeric epic, the Iliad, studying the parallels and contrasts between portrayals of heroes and heroism, narrative technique, characterization and emotion, and thematic design.

The module aims to train students to use details of a text for analysis and appreciation of:
•Stylistic and narrative design and effects
•Thematic patterns
•The handling of emotional impact
•The handling of character portrayal and of audience sympathies

The module aims to teach students to:
•Identify characteristic features of Homeric narrative technique, including those which reflect the Odyssey’s and the Iliad’s status as works designed for oral performance.
•Explore how these may work for an audience in a performance context, especially in terms of emotional and dramatic effect.

Outline Of Syllabus

The syllabus covers the following topics concerning Homeric epic, as these are manifested in the Odyssey, with comparison to the way similar elements and approaches are manifested in the Iliad at selected points:
Questions of design
Narrative technique:
•plot and thematic patterns
•narrative patterns
•description and narrative
•building themes
•handling narrative climaxes
•presentation of character
The heroic world
Immortals and mortality

Learning Outcomes

Intended Knowledge Outcomes

On completion of this module students should have:
-developed an understanding and appreciation of narrative techniques as employed in Homeric epic poetry
-developed an understanding of the way such techniques work in oral performance
-explored the diverse ways and varying directions in which a poet may direct an audience’s reaction to characters and events in a narrative, and the possible role in this process of cultural ideas, values and ethics different to their own.

Intended Skill Outcomes

On completion of this module students should have:
-developed their skills in critical analysis and appreciation of textual detail;
-developed skills in relating analysis of such detail to larger thematic, narrative and aesthetic questions about a text as a whole;
-developed their ability to apply these skills to comparison between related texts;
-further developed their communication skills, particularly through class discussion and seminars.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion651:0065:0040% of guided independent study
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture291:0029:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading661:0066:0040% of guided independent study
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching32:006:00Seminars
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesWorkshops11:001:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study331:0033:0020% of guided independent study
Total200:00
Jointly Taught With
Code Title
CAC3054Epic Journeys: The Odyssey and Homeric Epic (stage 3)
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Lectures (which also mostly include group work on applying lecture themes to specific passages) are designed to introduce students to overall approaches to the text, its techniques and its cultural background, and to illustrate to students how these ideas may be applied to the exploration of textual detail (and vice versa), giving students the opportunity to try this latter approach also for themselves.
Seminars are designed to give students the opportunity to engage with broader issues about the text for themselves, both in preparing an oral presentation and in preparing to participate in discussion; and also to develop students' skills of oral and interpersonal communication.

Reading Lists

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Exams
Description Length Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Written Examination1352A80N/A
Exam Pairings
Module Code Module Title Semester Comment
CAC3054Epic Journeys: The Odyssey and Homeric Epic (stage 3)2N/A
Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Written exercise2M20Assignment 1000 words
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The examination will comprise a mixture of commentary and essay questions.
Commentary questions assess students’ capacity to analyse passages in detail, usually as a basis for discussing characteristic features of the text as a whole. Essay questions assess students’ ability to assemble their knowledge of the text(s) studied into a coherent discussion of key overall questions about the text.

The assignment tests skills in analysing and interpreting narrative techniques within the texts, applying for themselves skills practised in lectures and workshop sessions.

All Erasmus students at Newcastle University are expected to do the same assessment as students registered for a degree.
Study-abroad, non-Erasmus exchange and Loyola students spending semester 1 only are required to finish their assessment while in Newcastle. This will take the form of an alternative assessment, as outlined in the formats below:

Modules assessed by Coursework and Exam:
The normal alternative form of assessment for all semester 1 non-EU study abroad students will be one essay in addition to the other coursework assessment (the length of the essay should be adjusted in order to comply with the assessment tariff); to be submitted no later than 12pm Friday of week 12. The essays should be set so as to assure coverage of the course content to date.

Modules assessed by Exam only:
The normal alternative form of assessment for all semester 1 non-EU study abroad students will be two 2,000 word written exercises; to be submitted no later than 12pm Friday of week 12. The essays should be set so as to assure coverage of the course content to date.

Modules assessed by Coursework only:
All semester 1 non-EU study abroad students will be expected to complete the standard assessment for the module; to be submitted no later than 12pm Friday of week 12. The essays should be set so as to assure coverage of the course content to date.
Study-abroad, non-Erasmus exchange and Loyola students spending the whole academic year or semester 2 are required to complete the standard assessment as set out in the MOF under all circumstances.

Timetable

Past Exam Papers

General Notes

The Odyssey: marvellous voyage with a fairy-tale ending, or grim battle for survival in a world of shifting rules? The Homeric epics derive from a long oral tradition, and while they stand at the very beginning of western literature, they are complex and multi-faceted works which have been interpreted in many different ways: the Odyssey has been seen as a women’s novel and a proto road-movie among other things! Secrets and lies, quests and questions, enigmas and marvels: this course aims to examine the range of elements, moods and effects that go to make up what has been termed the world’s first great adventure story. We shall also explore the relationship between the Odyssey and the other great Homeric epic, the Iliad, studying the parallels and contrasts between portrayals of heroes and heroism, narrative technique, characterization and emotion, and thematic design.

Disclaimer: The information contained within the Module Catalogue relates to the 2019/20 academic year. In accordance with University Terms and Conditions, the University makes all reasonable efforts to deliver the modules as described. Modules may be amended on an annual basis to take account of changing staff expertise, developments in the discipline, the requirements of external bodies and partners, and student feedback. Module information for the 2020/21 entry will be published here in early-April 2019. Queries about information in the Module Catalogue should in the first instance be addressed to your School Office.