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Ancient Laughter
CCIV 227
Spring 2018 not offered

Are we hard-wired to laugh? Could we have told a joke to an ancient Roman? Did the ancient Greeks think the same things were funny? Would they scoff at a "dirty" joke? Are puns universal, and universally terrible? This course will seek to examine the basis for Greek and Roman humor through a close examination of its humorous texts and the contextualizing voice of scholars on the Greco-Roman world. What we will discover in this course is that many of the modes, topics, techniques, and aims of comedy most familiar to us were employed by the ancient Greeks and Romans; often our own version owes a substantial debt to theirs. Comedic literature will also offer us a unique look at Greek and Roman culture, set as it is--much like our own comedy and satire--in a skewed version of everyday "reality." This course will be organized into three main units, structured around three main modes of ancient comic literature: dramatic comedy (the precursor to modern situation comedy), satire (a forerunner of stand-up comedy), and comic narrative (the wellspring of the comic novel). At the end of the course, we will return to three masterpieces in each mode--Aristophanes, THE FROGS; Juvenals, SATIRES; and Petronius, SATYRICON--and apply the critical tools we have developed to a richer analysis of the interaction between these texts and the society of readers and authors that produced them.
Credit: 1 Gen Ed Area Dept: HA CLAS
Course Format: Lecture / DiscussionGrading Mode: Graded
Level: UGRD Prerequisites: None
Fulfills a Major Requirement for: None

Last Updated on JUL-20-2024
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