After Homer: Poetry, Fiction, Film (EAS3183)

StaffProfessor Henry Power - Convenor
Credit Value30
ECTS Value15
NQF Level
Duration of Module Term 2: 11 weeks;

Module aims

One aim of the module is to develop a good knowledge of the Homeric poems, and of various works written in homage or response to them. A broader aim is to develop an understanding of the dynamics of reception. That is to say, we will think about the way in which subsequent readers and imitators of a text help to shape its meaning.

ILO: Module-specific skills

  • 1. demonstrate an informed appreciation of the Homeric poems in English translation.
  • 2. demonstrate an informed awareness of the influence of the Homeric poems on English (and Anglophone) literature.

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

  • 3. demonstrate an advanced ability to analyse the literature and film of different cultures and periods and to relate its concerns and its modes of expression to its historical context;
  • 4. demonstrate an advanced ability to interrelate texts and discourses specific to their own discipline with issues in the wider context of cultural and intellectual history;

ILO: Personal and key skills

  • 5. through seminar work and presentations, demonstrate advanced communication skills, and an ability to work both individually and in groups
  • 6. through essay-writing, demonstrate appropriate research and bibliographic skills, an advanced capacity to construct a coherent, substantiated argument, and a capacity to write clear and correct prose

Syllabus plan

The following week-by-week plan should be regarded as indicative only.


Week 1. Introduction: The Search for Homer: extracts from Chapman’s Homer, Pope’s Homer, Keats, ‘On First Looking into Chapman’s Homer’


Part 1: The Iliad


Week 2. Matthew Arnold, Sohrab and Rustum (1853)

Week 3. Christopher Logue, War Music (1959-2005)

Week 4. Alice Oswald, Memorial (2011)

Week 5. Michael Longley, poems from The Ghost Orchid (1996)

Week 6. Elizabeth Cook, Achilles (2001)



Part 2: The Odyssey


Week 7. Alfred, Lord Tennyson, ‘Ulysses’ (1842)

Week 8. Margaret Atwood, The Penelopiad (2005)

Week 9. Zachary Mason, The Lost Books of the Odyssey (2007)

Week 10. Thom Gunn, ‘Moly’ (1971)

Week 11. Jon Amiel (dir.), Sommersby (1993); Joel and Ethan Coen (dir.), O Brother, Where Art Thou? (2000)

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled4Film Screenings
Guided independent33study group meetings and preparation
Guided independent60seminar preparation (individual)
Guided Independant 170Reading, research and assessment preperation.

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Creative Response to Homer’s Iliad25500 words of prose OR 50 lines of poetry1,2,3,4,6Written, with possibility for tutorial feedback
Critical Commentary251500 words1,2,3,4,6Written, with possibility for tutorial feedback
Essay503000 words1,2,3,4,6Written, with possibility for tutorial feedback

Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Creative ResponseCreative Response1,2,3,4,6Referral/deferral period
Critical CommentaryCritical Commentary1,2,3,4,6Referral/deferral period
EssayEssay1,2,3,4,6Referral/deferral period

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

Basic reading:


Robert Fowler (ed.), The Cambridge Companion to Homer (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005).


Barbara Graziosi and Emily Greenwood (eds.), Homer in the Twentieth Century: Between World Literature and the Western Canon (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007).

Jasper Griffin, Homer on Life and Death (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1980)

Edith Hall, The Return of Ulysses: a Cultural History of Homer’s Odyssey (London: I.B. Tauris, 2008).

George Steiner (ed.), Homer in English (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 2007).

Module has an active ELE page?


Available as distance learning?