Module Catalogue 2022/23

CAC3067 : Love, Death, and Longing

  • Offered for Year: 2022/23
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Anke Walter
  • Owning School: History, Classics and Archaeology
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 1 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0
Pre Requisites
Pre Requisite Comment

No previous knowledge of Latin or of the ancient world is needed.

Co Requisites
Co Requisite Comment



The aim of this module is to introduce students to the main works of Latin elegy. The students will learn about the background of these texts and about methods of textual analysis. They will have ample opportunity to practise these methods for themselves. The students will also practise their writing skills in different contexts (close reading; abstract; essay).

Outline Of Syllabus

Latin elegiac literature is surrounded by a fundamental paradox: on the one hand, hardly any other genre seems to be governed by such a clear-cut list of themes that are supposed to be characteristic of the genre, such as the motif of the excluded lover (paraclausithyron), of the lover as soldier (militia amoris) or love as slavery (servitium amoris). On the other hand, hardly any other genre shows such a wide variety of works, ranging from love poetry, over instructions on how to fall in and out of love, love letters, and a didactic work on the Roman calendar, to the poetry of exile full of grief and longing – not for the beloved girl, but for the city of Rome.
In this module, we will examine the works that together constitute the genre of Latin elegy and discuss the questions raised by them individually and collectively: how do these works represent love, the beloved, and the process of writing about both? What do they have to say about the city of Rome, its origins and history, and the place of love in it? How do they convey the feeling of distance and longing? Throughout these discussions, we will have occasion to think about the heuristic value of genre as an analytical category, but also about the period of time when the vast majority of Roman elegies were written – the Augustan and early post-Augustan age –and its influence on literary production.

Learning Outcomes

Intended Knowledge Outcomes

Students will learn about the wide variety of Latin elegiac texts and their political and cultural background. They will acquire knowledge on the key authors of Latin elegy (especially Tibullus, Propertius, and Ovid), on the main themes of their works, on their intertextual relationship with previous and contemporary works of literature, as well as of how these poems relate to their contemporary cultural and political context. The students will learn about key themes and topics of elegiac literature, but also about the flexibility of the genre and the many different types of literary discourse that can be expressed even within what looks like the tight constraints of the elegiac genre.

Intended Skill Outcomes

Students will learn, and have ample opportunity to practise for themselves, how to critically analyse Latin elegiac texts (in translation), both in terms of the close reading of individual words and themes and in terms of the analysis of a poem's broader structure and argumentative strategies, as well as its intertextual relationship with other poems. The students will discuss their interpretation of a passage orally in seminar discussions and in different scholarly forms of writing (close reading; abstract; essay).

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion891:0089:00N/A
Structured Guided LearningLecture materials111:0011:00part of student contact hours (11 lecture recordings and materials, available online)
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture141:0014:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading361:0036:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching61:006:00in-person seminars for student-led discussion
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesDrop-in/surgery21:002:00drop-in for individual discussion of essay topics and essays
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study421:0042:00N/A
Jointly Taught With
Code Title
CAC2067Love, Death, and Longing
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

The lectures as well as online lecture materials will introduce the relevant texts, their background and some of the secondary literature and demonstrate the kind of literary analysis of these texts, which the students will be expected to carry out in their close reading and essay. Seminar sessions will help us work toward that goal by providing a context for the discussion of selected passages of texts and secondary literature. Drop-in sessions provide a space for the individual discussion of essay topic, essays and other questions relating to the lecture material.

Reading Lists

Assessment Methods

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

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Research paper1A75research essay, word limit: 2500 words
Essay1M25close reading exercise; word limit: 1000 words
Formative Assessments
Description Semester When Set Comment
Research proposal1M500-word abstract of the essay the students are planning to write
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The students will demonstrate their ability to think critically about and develop an interpretation of a text by writing a short (1000 words) close reading of a set passage. They will sketch out the main point of their essay in an abstract (500 words) and demonstrate their skill of critical analysis in their essay (2500 words). The essay abstract (formative) will help the students formulate their topic and their argument in a concise way and start building their bibliography, as well as allow the lecturer to offer some guidance early on in the essay planning process.

Study-abroad, non-Erasmus exchange and Loyola students spending semester 1 only are required to finish their assessment while in Newcastle. Where an exam is present, an alternative form of assessment will be set and where coursework is present, an alternative deadline will be set. Details of the alternative assessment will be provided by the module leader.


Past Exam Papers

General Notes


Disclaimer: The information contained within the Module Catalogue relates to the 2022/23 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 2023/24 entry will be published here in early-April 2023. Queries about information in the Module Catalogue should in the first instance be addressed to your School Office.