Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Summary of the Course

I enrolled in the course without any expectations that I would actually enjoy it - of all literature, classical held the least interest for me, but since either classical or biblical foundations are required, this seemed a little more interesting... I have to admit this really has been a worthwhile course, one I wish I had taken at the beginning of my literature courses, the way they encourage you to do in the catalog. But since I was more focused on Women's Studies, I took those classes and Literature courses were for my enjoyment. When I had to decide on a major, I had several literature classes, so I worked my way back to the basic courses. Classical Foundations would have helped in the upper level courses. But since I seem to have done everything a little late, as I have going back to school, I guess it has all worked out okay.

The Past Possesses the Present - I don't think any of us in class will ever forget that phrase...and
not just from a literary standpoint. Every time we read a newspaper (yes, some of us still do that in spite of the internet) we'll be hearing "You shouldn't be reading the Times, you should be reading the Eternities." Every time we watch a movie, we'll be looking for one of Steiner's five conflicts - men and women, age and youth, individual and state, living and dead, and gods and humans. I was reading out loud to my 11 year old - "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix." Professor Dumbledore was talking to Harry about a fault of age - that you don't always remember what it is like to be young - youth isn't expected to have that understanding
since they haven't experienced age - but age has the responsibility to remember. From my own experience - parenting is an entirely different endeavor if you try to remember what YOU felt like when you were your child's age - and not just parent by the, "I'm older and I know better," but you know what, you don't always know better because of age, and you're not always right.

We had a good variety of texts, "Lysistrata" was a good balance for "Trojan Women" and Iphigenia at Aulis," and the film clips were a good visual aid, "Antigone" was a great example of all the conflicts, "Imaginary Life" was the perfect conclusion for "Ovid's Metamorphoses" using a contemporary author reaching back to Ovid. Another thing I especially enjoyed was looking at a different translation of what we were reading. I found that particularly helpful when reading "Antigone" and I had another copy that I read along with our class copy - a good example of how translations change with the times.

The group presentations have been great to watch, and I was very lucky with my group - since I drive over from Livingston each day, it really is difficult for me to do an evening or weekend meeting, my group was especially accommodating about that.

When I read an article about cattle rustling last week in the Livingston Enterprise, yes, I did think about Hermes, and even though I think a lot of Freud's theories are crap, sexist, etc., I have a better understanding of Oedipus complex, or at least where he got his ideas.

One idea I intend to look into further, is the similarities between classical myths and Christianity, how some of the "true" stories in the Bible might have, in fact, "borrowed" some ideas - especially virgin births and resurrection - I have been thinking about this since finding out the story of the flood is common in many religions, and then we saw it again in Ovid's creation story. When I have time...

Since I have managed to fulfill all my English courses and hadn't taken a course taught by Dr. Sexson until this one, I had asked several other students about his classes. Besides telling me he was a great professor and they had learned a lot in his courses, it was mentioned that he required some memorization, which is NOT my strong point. Thank you Dr. Sexson, that at least in this class there was no long memorization - I believe the shorter quotes will stay in my memory. The class was enlightening and entertaining - I enjoyed it.

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