CLA 102 — Discovering the Roman Lyric Poets
Course Format: Live Online (About Formats)
Duration: 7 weeks
Date(s): Feb 3—Mar 17
Time: 7:00—8:50 pm (PT)
Refund Deadline: Feb 5
Instructor(s): Barbara Clayton
Class Recording Available: Yes
Status: Registration opens Nov 29, 8:30 am (PT)
Lyric poetry—the poetry of the personal voice—flowered, flourished, and then flamed out over a relatively short period of time in ancient Rome, a fifty-year span covering the last three decades of the Republic and the first two decades of the Augustan Principate. In this course, we will read selections from the six superstars of this genre: Catullus, Tibullus, Propertius, Sulpicia (our only female representative), Ovid, and Horace. Not surprisingly, many of their poems are about that most personal of emotions, romantic love. Indeed, the influence of these poets dramatically shaped the entire tradition of love poetry in the West, from the sonnets of Shakespeare to the Romantic poets of the 19th century. While the Romans placed a high value on self-control, propriety, and the importance of work and duty, these lyric poets turned the tables on those mores as they celebrated the power of desire, the torments of jealousy, the thrill of seduction, and the all-consuming nature of passionate relationships. However, the lyric genre was not limited to love poetry, nor did it preclude political subjects, as we shall see in our final poet, Horace, considered by the Romans themselves as the greatest of their lyric poets.
Barbara Clayton has taught Classics at Oberlin College, Santa Clara University, and Stanford, where she was a lecturer in a freshman humanities program for many years. Since 2015, she has taught for the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute. She is the author of A Penelopean Poetics: Reweaving the Feminine in Homer’s Odyssey. Clayton received a PhD in Classics from Stanford.
Textbooks for this course:
(Required) Diane J. Rayor, ed., and William W. Batstone, ed., Latin Lyric and Elegiac Poetry: An Anthology of New Translations, 2nd ed. (ISBN 978-1138857803)