Skip to main content

Unit information: Comedy in 2018/19

Please note: you are viewing unit and programme information for a past academic year. Please see the current academic year for up to date information.

Unit name Comedy
Unit code CLAS22370
Credit points 20
Level of study I/5
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 1 (weeks 1 - 12)
Unit director Professor. Liveley
Open unit status Not open
Pre-requisites

None

Co-requisites

None

School/department Department of Classics & Ancient History
Faculty Faculty of Arts

Description

Can we take the comedy of ancient Greece and Rome seriously? In this unit we will examine a range of comic and satiric discourse in the cultures of ancient Greece and Rome to discover how laughter functioned in antiquity both as subversive political critique and conservative social commentary. Theoretical readings on comic violence, carnival, and body humour will inform our seminar discussions and textual analyses on Homer, Aristophanes, Menander, Plautus, Terence, Horace, and Juvenal. Throughout the unit we will compare and contrast the classical tradition of comedy with modern comedic discourse including political satire, live comedy performance, TV sitcoms and cartoons. The course will include a field trip to see live ‘stand-up’ comedy performances.

Intended learning outcomes

Successful students will have:

  1. have developed a detailed knowledge and in-depth understanding of comedy in the ancient world; its uses and contexts and an awareness of how these change over time.
  2. Be able to analyse critically the comedic texts of the ancient world and how they functioned in antiquity both as subversive political critique and conservative social commentary.be able to use the knowledge acquired in lectures and through their own research to construct coherent and analytical arguments on different aspects of the subject, at a standard appropriate to Level I
  3. Be able to use the knowledge acquired in lectures and through their own research to construct coherent and analytical arguments on different aspects of the subject, at a standard appropriate to Level I.
  4. Have had an opportunity to further develop their skills in written communication.

Teaching details

2 weekly lectures including discussion

Assessment Details

1 x essay of 2500 words (50%) and 1 x 90 minute exam (50%), both testing ILOs 1-4. The coursework essay in particular will offer students the opportunity to demonstrate ILO (3).

Reading and References

  • Aristophanes, Wasps, The Poet and the Women
  • Plautus, The Pot of Gold, Pseudolus
  • Terence,The Mother-in-law
  • M.S. Silk, Aristophanes and the definition of comedy
  • C. Segal, Roman Laughter
  • N. Lowe, Comedy

Feedback