Term 1 – Greek and Roman Literature of Antiquity

Students will be introduced to the great mythologies of antiquity. Starting with the earliest Greek poets such as Homer and Hesiod, the course progresses through to Virgil’s recounting of the founding of Rome. The stories of Icarus, Pandora, Myramus and Thisbee, Cupid and Psyche are included in the course. The course explores the nature of mythologies and the transmutation of retold stories over the centuries.

Term 2 – Medieval Literature

Beginning with Beowulf, this unit surveys a range of medieval literature. A number of Anglo-Saxon poems are studied before moving on to the Middle English literature of Chaucer and the Arthurian legends. The Christian allegories embedded in literature of this period are studied, as well as the effects that feudalism had upon heroic archetypes.

Term 3 – Renaissance Literature

In this unit a number of Shakespeare plays are studied. Cervantes’ famous work Don Quixote provides an insight into the shift of attitudes that occurred in the early modern period. The themes of free will and divine omniscience are explored in John Milton’s epic poem Paradise Lost. The literary theory of Philip Sydney and allegories of Edmund Spenser are also explored during the course.

Term 4 – Modern Literature

In the final term of literature we examine some of the most prominent writers of the modern era, including William Wordsworth, Alfred Lord Tennyson, Victor Hugo, Oscar Wilde, G.K. Chesterton, C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, Mark Twain, Henry Lawson and Banjo Paterson. The course looks at the movement of Romantic poetry, and it explores the themes of eschatology, ethics, sociology and national identity through the viewpoint of the modern authors.