LIT.  230 - Literature of the Ancient World

SPRING, 2013  SECTIONS 15 (0388) & 21 (1016) 

Writing Intensive

Prof. Pat Licklider


  EMAIL ADDRESS:            PHONE: 237-8598

OFFICE: NB 7.63.21

OFFICE HOURS:  Tues. & Thurs., 10:00-10:40, Thursdays 2:00-3:45, or by appt.

Marble statuette of harp player, Cycladian, 2800-2700 b.c., Metropolitan Museum

What Does Writing Intensive Mean?

To help you prepare for college writing across the curriculum, John Jay has made several sections of the Core courses after English 101 and 201 writing intensive. This means that, in this course, you will use writing, both in class and at home, as a way of learning and talking about the readings. Some of this writing will be graded, but much of it will not be graded so that you will be freer to try out new methods and ideas without fear of consequences. The special, smaller size of this class also means that I can pay closer attention to your work than is possible in a class of 36 students. BUT I have always assigned a lot of writing in Lit., Writing Intensive or not. My colleagues and I believe that you should be able to express your ideas as well in writing as you can in speaking. 


1. To READ CRITICALLY important and seminal literary works of the ancient world and, through our reading, writing, and discussion, to LEARN about their CULTURE and HISTORY 

2. To MAKE CONNECTIONS between these literary works and our own culture and lives

3. To SEE CONNECTIONS between the works we read and OTHER KINDS of ART

4. To SHARPEN your reading, writing, and thinking SKILLS


HOMER, Iliad, translated Robert Fagles.  Penguin Classics (014-044592-7)

VIRGIL, The Essential Aeneid, translated by Stanley Lombardo.  Hackett Publishing (978-0872-207905)

SOPHOCLES, Theban Plays, translated by Peter Meineck & Paul Woodruff.  Hackett Publishing (9780872- 205857)

EURIPIDES, Three Plays of Euripides, translted by Paul Roche.  W.W.Norton Pubs. (9780393-093124)

The BIBLE, any modern English version.  See for those online, or buy one from the American Bible Society on Broadway & 61st St. 

SAPPHO and CATULLUS, Selected Poems.  Print out from



Reading the texts is the most important part of this class.  DO NOT USE Spark Notes instead of the REAL texts. ALWAYS bring the book or printout of the day to class. Show that you have read it.  Mark up the text. Make it your own.  


Participate actively in class discussions, based on your reading. Do not talk about a text you haven't read!  Active participation can be worth as much as 10% of your final grade, depending on how regularly you participate.  


IN-CLASS MINI-ESSAYS:  On the days listed in the syllabus, WRITE IN CLASS 10-minute mini-essays on the reading due that day.  You may then revise some of these for the full-period, graded in-class essays and for the one longer paper described next.  Do not be LATE or ABSENT on these writing days since these essays CANNOT be made up.  See WRITING ASSIGNMENTS for fuller info.   I will not grade these mini-essays, but I will give zeros for essays that show no acquaintance with the text and for missing essays.  Together with the longer in-class essays, these account for 45% of your final grade.  At the end of the term, I deduct 2 points from this 45% for each missing mini-essay or those with zeros. 


In class on Feb. 26, Mar. 21, and May 2, write essays, complete with quotes and other textual references, on the text of the previous weeks. You may use one page of notes and your text for these essays.  You may also revise and expand one or more of your mini-essays on the text(s) in question for these essays. There are four sets of topics for four different due dates, and you may choose any three.  One essay MUST be written on a museum topic, iusing info you have gathered during a museum visit.  Together with the mini-essays, these essays account for 45% of your final grade.


Write ONE 4-5-page paper at home for ONE of 3 different due dates, depending on your choice of text, March  5, April 23, or May 16.  See WRITING ASSIGNMENTS for the texts and further info, repeated on the syllabus.   If you write your one paper by April 23, you may revise it within 2 weeks of its return for a possibly higher grade.  This paper accounts for 20% of your final grade.


I will set up small groups during the first few weeks of the term.  There will be two formal group activities, described more fully at GROUP WORK.  The activities: 

1.  Present a dramatic reading on March 14 of lines from specific books of the Odyssey or the Aeneid to be assigned in class.  Comment in writing on the group's ability to work together.

2. Instead of a final exam, present an entertaining and informative report about one of the Special Topics that I have compiled on the texts we have read. These presentations will be made on the May date assigned to your section for a final exam, either May 21 or May 23.  Again, comment in writing on the group's functioning together.

Together, these group activities are worth 20% of your final grade.  You will also work in groups at other times in the semester.


I have recorded two PODCASTS, one keyed to Homer's Iliad that guides you through the Ancient Greek Art galleries at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the other about ancient Rome during the time of Virgil that guides you through the museum's new Roman Art galleries.  After reading Homer's Iliad, visit this museum with my Iliad podcast to take the Greek Art tour, completing the Iliad podcast handout.  You may also write your first essay, due March 5, using some of the material you gather on your visit. OR you can wait and sometime before May 1, visit the museum with my Roman podcast to take the Roman Art tour, completing the Roman podcast handout.   You may also write your second paper, due April 23, using the material you gather on your visit.  On Feb. 12 and one day during our Spring Break, I will meet any of you who want to join me at the museum.  I can help you follow the podcast and generally get around the museum.

This visit to the museum is worth 10% of your final grade. In other words, simply taking one of the podcast tours and adequately completing the appropriate handout earns you 10 points.  See Museum Visit for fuller details. 


ATTEND class regularly. More than 4 absences lowers your grade.  Also, BE ON TIME. If you are late, you will miss the opening writing, which cannot be made up.  Please DO NOT LEAVE CLASS for any reason once we have started. Such goings and comings are very disturbing to discussion. Leaving class also tells me you’re not interested in what’s going on.  ALWAYS bring your copy of the day's text to class, having read the assignment.  Let me remind you also that there is NO EATING OR DRINKING in class, even though you’re starving. And please TURN OFF cell-phones and beepers.  No texting or Tweeting in class, please!  Think of this class as a community of readers and thinkers, and come prepared to engage the texts in provocative talk with your peers.