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CAC2067 : Love, Death, and Longing

  • Offered for Year: 2024/25
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Anke Walter
  • Owning School: History, Classics and Archaeology
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus

Your programme is made up of credits, the total differs on programme to programme.

Semester 2 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0
European Credit Transfer System


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; 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.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion891:0089:00N/A
Structured Guided LearningLecture materials21:002:00Part of student contact hours (2 lecture recordings and materials, available online)
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture231:0023:00lectures, to introduce and discuss new content
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading361:0036:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching61:006:00seminars 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
CAC3067Love, Death, and Longing
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

The lectures 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. 2 hours of recorded lecture materials will provide essential information on how to prepare for assessments as well as key study skills. Seminar sessions will help us work toward that goal by providing a context for the discussion of selected passages of texts and secondary literature, as well as training students' skillls in orally presenting their thoughts. Drop-in sessions provide a space for the individual discussion of essay topic, essays and other questions relating to the lecture material.

Assessment Methods

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

Description Length Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Oral Presentation152A6010-minute oral presentation by each student, followed by 5 minutes of questions.
Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Essay2M40close reading exercise; word limit: 1000 words
Formative Assessments

Formative Assessment is an assessment which develops your skills in being assessed, allows for you to receive feedback, and prepares you for being assessed. However, it does not count to your final mark.

Description Semester When Set Comment
Essay2M500-word, brief outline of the argument the students are planning to present in their oral presentation.
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 argument that they are planning to present in their oral presentation in a short (500 words) formative written piece. The students will demonstrate their ability to think critically about and develop an interpretation of a text by a 10-minute oral presentation, to be followed by 5 minutes of questions. The seminar sessions will allow the students to develop their skills in orally presenting their thoughts, and the formative assignment will help them develop their argument on the poem that they are planning to discuss for their presentation.

Reading Lists