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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of History, Classics and Archaeology : Classical Literature in Translation

Undergraduate Course: Changing Bodies in Ovid's Metamorphoses (CLTR10030)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of History, Classics and Archaeology CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 10 (Year 3 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryIn our course, we will examine Ovid's account of metamorphosis, by focusing specifically on the concept of the human body and its multiplicity of implications: from gender to philosophical theories, ancient medical accounts of the body, including the senses, and specific functions of its limbs. By exploring a representative selection of episodes from Ovid's Metamorphoses (in translation), we will study the concepts, functions, and criticism of the human body and its transformation in the Greco-Roman world.
Course description Ovid's epic will be our point of reference and point of departure in exploring the plurality of ancient theories of the body, the contexts in which they were conceptualised in the Greco-Roman world, and the ways in which Ovid manipulated them to serve new purposes. Seminars will also engage with the ways in which Ovid's work has been influenced by political and social factors which have shaped ancient theories of the body, including gender systems, religious beliefs, and the political and social contexts within which medical issues concerning the human body were explored. More specifically, we will investigate the influence of ancient philosophy, medicine, gender theories, and literature more broadly, especially Greek tragedy, on Ovid's account of bodily transformations. Seminars will further be aimed at stimulating critical debate on broader questions about gender, identity, politics and ethics, while simultaneously challenging traditional assumptions about ancient cultural concepts. While the primary focus will be on the classical sources and contexts, the various interests and disciplinary backgrounds that members of the class may bring to the subject will be integral to the module.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements The course is available to all students who have progressed to Honours.
Information for Visiting Students
Pre-requisitesVisiting students should usually have at least 3 courses in Classics, History or Archaeology (at least 1 of which should be in Latin Language and Literature) at grade B or above (or be predicted to obtain this) for entry to this course. We will only consider University/College level courses.

** as numbers are limited, visiting students should contact the Visiting Student Office directly for admission to this course **
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Not being delivered
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. An understanding of the significance of literary and historical developments in Ovid's Metamorphoses.
  2. An understanding of the ways in which different literary genres and media are involved in Ovid's narratives of bodily change.
  3. Critically assess the sources examined while simultaneously challenging traditional assumptions about ancient cultural concepts.
  4. Demonstrate the ability to research material and organise it into a coherent form within a strong argument.
  5. Deliver confident and well-argued oral presentations.
Reading List
Curley, D. (2013) Tragedy in Ovid. Theater, Metatheater, and the Transformation of a Genre. Cambridge.
Fögen T, and Lee M.M. (eds.) (2009) Bodies and Boundaries in Graeco-Roman Antiquity. Berlin and New York.
Galinsky, G.K. (1975) Ovid's Metamorphoses: An Introduction to the Basic Aspects. Berkeley and Los Angeles.
Gildenhard, I., Zissos, A. (2013) Transformative Change in Western Thought: A History of Metamorphosis from Homer to Hollywood. London.
Hardie, Barchiesi, and Hinds (eds.) (1999) Ovidian Transformations: Essays on the Metamorphoses and its Reception. Cambridge.
Hardie, P. (ed.) (2006) The Cambridge Companion to Ovid. Cambridge.
Liveley, G. 2010. Ovid's Metamorphoses: A Reader's Guide. London and New York.
Monserrat, D. (ed.) (1998) Changing Bodies, Changing Meanings. Studies of the Body in Antiquity. London and New York.
Myers, M. (1994) Ovid's Causes: Cosmogony and Aetiology in the Metamorphoses. Ann Arbor.
Salzman-Mitchell, P. (2005) A Web of Fantasies. Gaze, Image, and Gender in Ovid's Metamorphoses. Columbus.
Sharrock, A.R., Moller, D., Malm, M. (eds.) (2020) Metamorphic Readings: Transformation, Language, and Gender in the Interpretation of Ovid's Metamorphoses. Oxford.
Zimmermann Damer E. (2019) In the Flesh: Embodied Identities in Roman Elegy. Madison.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Critical skills in reading and debating ancient sources by positioning them within the context of ancient life, literature and thought.

Critical and independent thinking with regard to broader questions about identity, gender, politics and ethics in ancient Rome.

An ability to evaluate and synthesise critical insights of literary theory in interpreting Latin literature.

The ability to use diverse types of evidence to build up a cumulative picture.

The capacity to produce tight, well-evidenced and clearly expressed arguments in both oral and in written form.
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserDr Chiara Blanco
Tel: (0131 6)50 4620
Course secretaryMiss Claire Brown
Tel: (0131 6)50 3582
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