2002 -- Schedule
Lecture and Discussion Topics
April 1. Love Lyrics--Sappho to Gershwin.
Readings: No assigned reading. A selection of famous love poems will be analyzed and discussed in class.
Discussion: What are the characteristic sentiments and attitudes
expressed in love poems? Are they sincere or posed? Original or
conventional? For whom are they written and to what purpose?
April 8. Beyond Eros and Aphrodite: Platonic Love.
Readings: Plato, The Symposium.
Assignment: AL-H, A-1-E paper assigned. (Due 6/3.)
Discussion: What do we commonly mean by the phrase "Platonic
Love" today? In what ways does The Symposium revolutionize ancient
ideas about love and desire?
April 15. "Make Love Not War": The Battle of the Sexes in Greek Comedy and Myth.
Reading: Aristophanes, Lysistrata.
Discussion: Tragedy, Comedy, and Myth--what are they and
what can we learn from them?
April 22. "Fatal Attractions and Basic Instincts": Male vs. Female in Greek Tragedy and Myth.
Reading: Euripides, Medea.
April 29. The "Weaker Vessel"?: Women and Marriage in the Christian Middle Ages.
Readings: Chaucer, "The General Prologue"; "The Wife of Bath's Prologue and Tale."
Discussion: Are Medieval attitudes toward chastity, fidelity,
and promiscuity markedly different from views today? What about ideals of
masculine and feminine virtue? Would relations between men and women improve
if women made most of the decisions?
May 6. Women on a Pedestal: Chivalry and Courtly Love.
Readings: Chaucer, "The Franklin's Tale."
Assignment: AL-C exam distributed. (Due 6/3.)
Discussion: What is "courtly love" and to what extent does
it continue to be a factor influencing male-female relationships today?
May 13. Shakespeare and the Invention of Romantic Comedy.
Reading: Shakespeare, The Taming of the Shrew.
Films: The Taming of the Shrew; Much Ado about Nothing; A Midsummer Night’s Dream; Twelfth Night.
Discussion: 1. Bickering or seemingly mismatched couples
have been a staple of comedy from the stages of Athens and Rome to today's
movies and television. What examples can you find in recent popular culture?
2. Is love partly a product of imagination? That is, do we tend to fall in
love with a shiny, idealized image of the beloved rather than a clearly perceived
May 20. Modern Marriages: Comedies or Tragedies?.
Reading: Ibsen, A Doll House.
Discussion: Have feminism and women’s liberation improved
marital relationships? Do they threaten the continued existence of marriage
as an institution?
May 27. Memorial Day Holiday. No class.
June 3. Marriage, Romantic Love, and Modern Tragedy.
Reading: Ibsen, Hedda Gabler.
Assignment: All assignments due.
Discussion: Why do tales of romantic love--especially those
that end in sudden death--continue to captivate readers and audiences?
Nov 13. Summary and Review.
Note: Last class meeting. All assignments due.
David L. Simpson
The School for New Learning, DePaul University , Chicago, IL 60604
© David L. Simpson, 1998