HONR 218C Western Intellectual Heritage: The Hero and Society
Peter Losin
Office Hours: Before and after class and by appointment

Class texts
  1. Homer, Iliad. Translated by Robert Fagles. New York: Penguin Classics, 1990. ISBN 9780140445923.
  2. The Trials of Socrates. Edited by C.D.C. Reeve. Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing Company, 2002. ISBN 9780872205895.
  3. Sophocles, Antigone and Oedipus the King, in The Three Theban Plays. Translated by Robert Fagles. New York: Penguin Classics, 1982. ISBN 9780140444254.
  4. Virgil, Aeneid. Translated by Stanley Lombardo. Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing Company, 2005. ISBN 9780872207318.
  5. Anonymous, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. Translated by Joseph Glaser. Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing Company, 2011. ISBN 9781603846189.
  6. Judges, 1-2 Samuel from the Bible. Any reasonably accurate translation will do.
  7. John Milton, Samson Agonistes and Shorter Poems. Edited by A.E. Barker. New York: Crofts Classics, 1950. ISBN 9780882950587.
  8. William Shakespeare, Henry V. New York: Simon and Schuster, 2004. ISBN 9780743484879.
  9. Niccolò Machiavelli, The Prince. Edited by Quentin Skinner and Russell Price. Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press, 1988. ISBN 9780521349932.

Why these editions? Can I use different ones? What about online versions?

Class schedule (Thursdays, 6:00-8:30, in Plant Sciences, Room 1162)
September 5 Introductions. Homer, Iliad, Book 1.
September 12 Homer, Iliad. First half: Books 1-12 (pp. 77-340).
September 19 Homer, Iliad. Second half: Books 13-24 (pp. 341-614).
September 26 Plato, Euthyphro and Apology of Socrates. The Trials of Socrates, pp. 3-61.
Aristophanes, Clouds. The Trials of Socrates, pp. 84-176.
October 3 Sophocles, Antigone. Three Theban Plays, pp. 33-128. [First paper due]
October 10 Sophocles, Oedipus the King. Three Theban Plays, pp. 129-251.
October 17 Virgil, Aeneid. First half: Books 1-6 (pp. 1-161).
October 24 Virgil, Aeneid. Second half: Books 7-12 (pp. 162-340).
October 31 Virgil, Aeneid. Final thoughts and subsequent influence. [Second paper due]
November 7 Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. Glaser edition, pp. 1-80; if you have time, you may want to read the excellent introduction by Christine Chism as well, pp. vii-xxxviii.
November 14 The David story (1 Samuel 1-31, 2 Samuel 1-24).
November 21 Milton, Samson Agonistes (pp. 65-111); Judges 13-16 (the Samson story). [Third paper due on Tuesday, November 26]
November 28 NO CLASS -- Thanksgiving holiday.
December 5 Shakespeare, Henry V.
December 12 Machiavelli, The Prince. Dedicatory letter + Chapters 1-24 (pp. 3-91).
December 19 Final exam (prompts distributed in advance).

Policies, expectations, etc.

First, a word about attendance and participation. The class is small and it meets only once a week, so your attendance is very important. Further, this is a seminar, and seminars work well only when everyone participates. So I expect you to be present for every class. I also expect you to participate in our discussions. Your attendance and participation will count for 25% of your course grade. (Of course if you have a good reason for missing class -- illness, religious observance, field trip for another class, etc. -- these absences will not be held against you.)

Second, a word about cell phones and related technologies: turn them off when you come to class, and leave them off unless you're on a break. These devices are very distracting, and they interfere with the class. This should not need saying, but there have been students who needed to be told that it was not appropriate for them to be texting or reading email in class.

There's an email list for HONR 218C, which allows us to keep in touch with each other by email. By sending a message to honr218c-0101-fall13@coursemail.umd.edu you send it to everyone in the class. I'll use the list to disseminate course materials, but also to promote ongoing discussion of issues raised in class. I'll periodically post questions or topics for discussion to the list, and your contributions will be taken into account as part of your class attendance and participation grade.

We'll meet weekly in our normal room at the scheduled time unless the University closes due to inclement weather, athletic events, emergencies, etc. If class is canceled I'll send a message to the class email list and you will receive word by email.

The written component of your grade will be determined on the basis of your performance on three of four writing assignments. Everybody must take the final exam at the end of the course (more on this below). In addition, there will be three paper assignments, and you may choose the best two grades you receive on papers. (Or, if you like to play the odds, you can write only two papers and just use those two grades. I will caution you against certain ways of doing this, however.)

The prompts for the papers will direct you to a passage or passages from one of the texts you will be reading. They'll ask you one or two fairly specific questions about issues raised in the passage(s), and you will articulate and defend your answers in the body of your paper. Papers should be 4-5 pages long (ca. 1000-1200 words), double-spaced, with suitable margins. Be sure your pages are numbered and in the right order, and that your name is on the paper you turn in.

It is important to proofread your papers for mistakes of grammar, punctuation, and spelling -- or to have your word-processing software do it for you. These sorts of errors are very distracting, and they make it harder to judge the overall merits of what you are trying to say. How you say what you say matters. How you spell what you say matters, too. In this era of spell-checking and grammar-checking word processors, these sorts of mistakes are pretty close to inexcusable.

It's a good idea to do at least two drafts of your paper, giving yourself time to reflect and reconsider between them. And it may be useful to have another person who knows something about your topic read and comment on your first draft. He or she may pick up something you have missed.

Your papers should be your own work and your own words. The essay prompts are designed to get you to focus on the texts, and you should not need to consult secondary sources. But if you do, and if owe any of the ideas you incorporate in your papers to something you read, be sure to indicate this. If you quote someone's ideas, indent the quotation or put it in quotation marks, and in either case cite the source. Not to do these things constitutes plagiarism. The consequences of plagiarism can be serious. If you have any questions about using secondary sources, please ask me.

Finally, I recommend that you keep a copy of the paper you turn in, since papers sometimes get lost.

I will try to return your papers to you by the following class period. Since the class meets only once a week, and since our schedule demands that we move quickly through our texts and authors, late papers will not be accepted. The due-dates for the three papers are firm, and it's up to you to see to it that your papers are handed in on time. (I'm happy to accept your paper by email, if you'd prefer not to have to print it yourself. Just sent it to me before class on the due date.)

In addition to the three short paper assignments, there will be a comprehensive final exam, scheduled near the beginning of exam week (December 19th). The prompts will be handed out well in advance of the 19th, and the exam will be open-book.

Since I'm an adjunct member of the faculty and don't reside on or near campus, I don't have scheduled office hours. But I'm available either before or after class meetings, and can always be reached by email.

All University of Maryland Honors syllabi are required to include information about Academic Accommodations, Religious Observances, and Academic Integrity. That information is available here. And the Learning Assistance Service wants you to know this: "If you are experiencing difficulties in keeping up with the academic demands of this course, contact the Learning Assistance Service, 2202 Shoemaker Building, 301-314-7693. Their educational counselors can help with time management, reading, math learning skills, note-taking and exam preparation skills. All their services are free to UM students."

HONR 218C satisfies the CORE - Humanities requirement.

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