Ancient and Medieval Epic

CLST 204

This course studies the paradoxical figure of the epic hero, who doesn't quite fit into the society that needs him; who is more than human, almost a god, but also capable of inhuman and even monstrous acts; who is larger than life and yet in love with death.  Does the epic hero of antiquity still fit our everyday idea of the hero today? What characteristics define a hero in the 21st century? Are heroes extraordinary individuals, or ordinary people who do extraordinary things? Do we even need heroes today? In tracing these and other questions through authors and centuries, we shall work toward a sense of what is really at stake in our cultural and literary formulations of the hero and heroism.

Explore the culture and customs of these countries: 
Greece, Italy, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
Explore these religions: 
Christianity, Paganism
Relevance to other majors: 
Course should be of value to majors in English, Literature, German, Romance Studies, as offering insight into the models for European literature's varied and robust epic traditions.
Faculty: 

Micaela Janan, mjanan@duke.edu

Crosslisting Numbers: 
MEDREN 303
Areas of Knowledge: 
ALP
Modes of Inquiry: 
CCI
Film, Visual & Performing Arts?
No
Literature in Translation?
Yes