Departmental Papers (Classical Studies)

For over two centuries Penn has offered a variety of undergraduate and graduate programs representing all aspects of the broad field of Classical Studies, from languages and literature to history, archaeology and cultural studies. The Department encourages interdisciplinary and comparative approaches to teaching and research and maintains productive ties with a variety of programs, including Religious Studies, English, Comparative Literature, Medieval Studies, Philosophy, Linguistics, Italian Studies, History of Art, and the Penn Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology.



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Now showing 1 - 10 of 65
  • Publication
    Dialogue of Genres in Ovid's "Lovesong of Polyphemus" (Metamorphoses 13.719-897)
    (1992) Farrell, Joseph; Farrell, Joseph
    Among the central critical issues surrounding Ovid's Metamorphoses--indeed, underlying many of this challenging text's unsolved problems--is the question of genre. Is the poem epic or a species of epic (e.g., anti-epic, epic parody, elegized epic, or epicized elegy); a type of Kollektivgedicht, stringing together either a series of examples from some miniature form such as the epyllion, or else sampling now one genre, now another; or is it simply unique, resisting any effort at categorization? Despite the intelligent and detailed discussion that the question has received during the past seventy-five years, it is safe to say that no critical consensus has emerged.
  • Publication
    The Plan of Athena
    (1995) Murnaghan, Sheila; Murnaghan, Sheila
    The Odyssey opens by dramatizing the Olympian negotiations behind its action, and the goddess Athena quickly emerges as the source and sponsor of the plot that follows. All of the gods except Poseidon are gathered in the halls of Zeus listening to his meditations on a story that is already concluded, the story of Agamemnon. Athena tactfully shifts Zeus' attention to the story that is on her mind, the still-unconcluded story of Odysseus. When Zeus allows that it is indeed time for Odys seus to return, she responds with a ready set of plans that constitute the two lines of action occupying the next twelve books of the poem: the adventures of Telemachos, initiated by her own visit to Ithaka in the guise of Mentes, and Odysseus' release from the island of Kalypso, initiated by Hermes sent as a messenger from Zeus (1.80- 95). At the end of that phase of the action, Athena takes an even more direct hand in events, meeting with Odysseus as he reaches the shore of Ithaka in Book 13 and devising with him the plot that will control the second half of the poem.
  • Publication
    On the Prosecution of C. Antonius in 76 B.C.
    (1995) Damon, Cynthia; Damon, Cynthia
  • Publication
    Reading and Writing the Heroides
    (1998) Farrell, Joseph; Farrell, Joseph
    A more accurate title for this paper might have been "Reading, Writing, Editing, and Translating the Heroides" because it will treat not only of the polar relationship between reader and writer but also of the mediating roles represented by those sometimes troublesome interpreters who stand between them. Accordingly, I will be drawing attention to certain more or less traditional literary issues as well as to a set of philological problems that have tended to inhibit the appreciation of these poems as literature-namely, those problems that crop up in the debate over the authenticity of certain poems and parts of poems in the collection.
  • Publication
    Reviewed Work: The Unity of the Odyssey by George Dimock
    (1992) Murnaghan, Sheila; Murnaghan, Sheila
  • Publication
    Reading Penelope
    (1994) Murnaghan, Sheila; Murnaghan, Sheila
    One consequence of the recent infusion of newer critical approaches into the study of classical literature has been a boom in studies devoted to the figure of Penelope in the Odyssey. While certain problems concerning Penelope's portrayal have always been part of the agenda for Homeric scholarship, the emergence of feminist criticism and an intensified concern with the act of interpretation have focused more and more attention on a female character who occupies a surprisingly central role in the largely male dominated genre of heroic epic and whose presentation is marked by contradictions and uncertainties that demand interpretive intervention. The question of how to read the character of Penelope has become a focal point for a series of larger issues: In what ways is a female character who comes to us mediated through the poetry of a distant and patriarchal era to be seen as representative of female experience? How should we account for textual mysteries such as those surrounding Penelope, and how can we incorporate them into our understanding of the work?
  • Publication
    Review of Oiva Kuisma, Proclus' Defense of Homer
    (1999) Struck, Peter T; Struck, Peter T
    Since early studies of allegory by Buffière and Pépin, and J. Coulter's groundbreaking work on the Neoplatonists, a number of important studies have been published on Neoplatonic literary theory, including those by A. Sheppard, R. Lamberton, and J. Whitman.1 Oiva Kuisma has produced a further contribution to this growing area of study.