Ovid and the Erotic Passions (CLA3056)
|Staff||Professor Rebecca Langlands - Convenor|
|Duration of Module||Term 1: 11 weeks;|
A close and detailed study of the three poems (in translation) Art of Love, Cures for Love and On Make Up, will combine literary critical approaches to the poetry with an investigation of the poems as evidence for ancient Roman attitudes towards sex, desire, love, lust and the erotic passions. This module will explore the poems’ cynical and instrumental attitude to erotic relationships, which seems in many ways at odds with the modern Western tradition of romantic love, and investigate whether, on closer examination, many of their central themes – such as manipulation, objectification and self-objectification, the pleasures, pains, frustrations and gratifications of erotic passions – may resonate strongly today.
ILO: Module-specific skills
- 1. Demonstrate a detailed knowledge of Ovids didactic poetry, and evaluate and discuss its significance
- 2. Identify and explain the various theoretical approaches to ancient Latin poetry, and demonstrate awareness of the subjects central themes and issues.
- 3. Demonstrate awareness of the extent to which interpretations of Ovids poetry are shaped by changing modern concerns.
- 4. Demonstrate a good knowledge of the history and variety of scholarship on Ovids poetry and an understanding of how this scholarship can inform your own interpretation of the texts.
ILO: Discipline-specific skills
- 5. Identify, appreciate and engage effectively with different theoretical approaches to ancient texts.
- 6. Demonstrate sophisticated critical and analytical skills which can be applied to the analysis of texts from any culture
- 7. Demonstrate appreciation of the issues involved in using ancient texts as historical source material and relate texts to their socio-historical context
ILO: Personal and key skills
- 8. Through research for seminars and written assignments demonstrate advanced independent and group study skills in research, critical analysis, and presentation of findings.
- 9. Through writing essays, delivering informal presentations and preparing for seminars, demonstrate advanced ability to select and organise relevant material to produce an argument.
- 10. Through written assignments, informal seminar presentations and discussion, demonstrate advanced ability to present a strong, coherent argument in both oral and written forms.
- 11. Through submission of final essay and research journal demonstrate enhanced ability to reflect on your own work, to respond constructively to feedback, and to implement suggestions and improve work on the basis of feedback
Through close reading of the set texts supported by relevant scholarship and comparative material, we will discuss themes such as: the representation in the poems of erotic passion and sexual behaviour, of the relationship between men and women and of the differences between the sexes; the poetry’s relationship to the political and social context of the Augustan age; the position of the poems within the literary tradition, e.g. their relation to the genres of love elegy and didactic; a comparison of the poems with other ancient material such as erotic painting from Pompeii, and with modern trends such as Pick Up Artists. The module will include scope for students to focus on specific themes and case studies depending on their particular interests.
Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)
|Scheduled Learning and Teaching Activities||Guided independent study||Placement / study abroad|
Details of learning activities and teaching methods
|Category||Hours of study time||Description|
|Scheduled Learning and Teaching Activities||22||Seminars (1 x 2 hour per week)|
|Guided independent study||128|
|Form of assessment||Size of the assessment (eg length / duration)||ILOs assessed||Feedback method|
|Close study of key primary and texts and scholarship in class, with broader discussions of issues||1-11||Verbal feedback from peers and lecturer.|
|Written assignment||1,000 words||1-11||Written peer & lecturer feedback|
|Essay Plan||1,000 words||1-11||Tutorial feedback with lecturer|
|First draft of essay||3,000 words||1-11||Peer Feedback|
Summative assessment (% of credit)
|Coursework||Written exams||Practical exams|
Details of summative assessment
|Form of assessment||% of credit||Size of the assessment (eg length / duration)||ILOs assessed||Feedback method|
|Written assignment||25||1,000 words||1-11||Mark & written feedback from lecturer|
|Essay||75||3,000 words||1-11||Mark & written feedback from lecturer|
Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)
|Original form of assessment||Form of re-assessment||ILOs re-assessed||Timescale for re-assessment|
|Written assignment 1,000 words||Written assignment 1,000 words||1-11||Ref/Def period|
Indicative learning resources - Basic reading
Ovid The Erotic Poems translated by Peter Green (Penguin)
Roy Gibson, Steven Green and Alison Sharrock (eds) The Art of Love: bimillenial essays on Ovid’s Ars Amatoria and Remedia Amoris 2006
Roy Gibson, Ars Amatoria III 2003.
Roy Gibson “The Ars Amatoria” in Peter Knox (ed.) A Companion to Ovid: 90-103
Alison Sharrock, Seduction and Repetition in Ovid Ars Amatoria 2 (1994)
Giulia Sissa, (2008) Sex and Sensuality in the Ancient World (pages 133-149)
Maurizio Bettini (1989) The Portrait of the Lover (pages 81-93)
Molly Myerowitz (1985) Ovid’s Games of Love.
Marguerite Johnson (2016) Ovid on Cosmetics: Medicamina Faciei Femineae and Related Texts
Rebecca Armstrong (2015) Ovid and his Love Poetry.
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Last revision date
Key words search
Ovid, Ancient Rome, Love, Passion