BA History / Course details

Year of entry: 2022

Course unit details:
Greece in Britain

Course unit fact file
Unit code CAHE39352
Credit rating 20
Unit level Level 3
Teaching period(s) Semester 2
Offered by Classics, Ancient History, Archaeology & Egyptology
Available as a free choice unit? Yes

Overview

Perceptions of, and knowledge about, ancient Greece have played a crucial role in the development of Western cultures in the modern period of human history. In this course we study the impact and reception of ancient Greek politics, material culture, and literature on the intellectual and artistic mileux of the British Isles in the period of nation-building, enlightenment, and modernism from (roughly) 1750 to 1950. Intellectual engagement with the ancient Greek fluctuates over the course of this era as classical ideals and achievements contend with the progress of science, political philosophy and artistic endeavour. This course will focus on engagement with Greek ideas principally in the fields of politics and philosophy, art and architecture, and literature and aesthetics; we will consider how these fields engaged with, built upon and transformed the notion of the ‘Greek’. Themes to be studied closely include: political philosophy (especially nationalism, imperialism and democracy), philosophy (especially the reception of Socrates), historiography, travel and the impact of the Grand Tour, antiquarianism and the foundation of the British Museum, Romantic Hellenism and its place in the history of British poetry, Greece and Modernism, inscriptions and the reception of ancient Greece.

Aims

· To introduce the era 1750-1950 as a crucial era in the development of ideas about ancient Greek culture

· To establish a critical understanding of the reception of ancient Greek culture in Britain in the era 1750-1950

· To develop an understanding of how Greek models (and anti-models) are significant to modern ideas about politics, nationalism, imperialism through historiography

· To engage with the role of ancient Greek achievements in material culture had an impact on British art and architecture and the development of the modern idea of the Museum

· To understand the place of Greek literature and thought in British Romantic Hellenism (with a particular focus on Byron and Shelley)

· To engage with Greek influences on canonical works of modernist literature produced in Britain (with a particular focus on T.S. Eliot’s and H.D.)

· To understand the role of eighteenth- and nineteeth-century travel literature in the emergence of modern ideas about Greece

· To understand the impact of the discovery of ancient Greek writing and inscriptions on British culture (L3 only)

· To develop a critical appreciation of modern reception theory as a means of developing a analytical understanding of the reception of ancient Greek culture in the modern age (critical at level 3).

Knowledge and understanding

By the end of this course students will be able to:

· Demonstrate a critical awareness of the reception of Greek culture in Britain in the period 1750-1950

· Show in-depth understanding of three aspects of the reception of Greek culture in Britain (1750-1950): of politics and philosophy, art and architecture, and literature and aesthetics

· Show awareness of the importance of eighteenth- and nineteeth-century travel literature

· Appreciate the importance of the discovery of inscriptions for understanding ancient Greece (L3 only)

· To demonstrate a critical appreciation of how modern reception theory can help develop a understanding of the reception of ancient Greek culture in the modern age (critical at L3)

Intellectual skills

Students who successfully complete the course will be able to:

· construct a coherent argument in written and oral form

· pose meaningful questions and make critical judgments about issues pertaining to reception

· assimilate and critically analyse examples of literature and material culture

· locate and retrieve relevant information from secondary scholarship and treat it analytically

· treat modern travel literature critically (critical at L3)

· appreciate the modern reception of ancient Greek inscriptions (L3 only)

· engage critically with reception theory (L3 only)

Practical skills

Students who successfully complete the course will be able to:

· make extensive and appropriate critical use of a wide range of library, electronic and online resources · locate and retrieve relevant information from primary sources (both ancient and modern) and critically analyse it in depth;

· conduct bibliographic searches and treat the findings critically

· present results in a scholarly and analytical manner with appropriate reference to sources and modern published scholarship.

· Make posters; make use of poster-making software

Transferable skills and personal qualities

Transferable skills, including the ability to manage time, to use professional presentation techniques (and related software), to engage in independent research, and to engage in critical discussion and debate in seminars

Employability skills

Other
The course involves a large number of important employment skills, most notably an ability to analyse and examine a large amount of often difficult information, an ability to see both sides of an argument, the ability to synthesise an argument in a cogent form, the ability to retrieve information from complex sources and present it in a compelling and cogent fashion.

Assessment methods

Task Weighting
Poster 30%
Commentary 30%
Exam 40%

 

Feedback methods

Oral feedback after poster-planning session; Formative feedback designed to contribute formatively towards better performance in poster assessment.

Written feedback on Poster, Essay and Commentary; Summative coursework feedback designed to contribute formatively towards improvement in subsequent assessment. Communicated via TurnItIn (with option of individual discussion if wished).

Recommended reading

L. Hardwick and C. Stray, eds, A Companion to Classical Receptions, 2011

R. Jenkyns, The Victorians and ancient Greece, 1981

A.F. Michaelis, Ancient Marbles in Great Britain, 1882

R. Stoneman, Land of the Lost Gods. The Search for Classical Greece, 1987

F. Turner, The Greek Heritage in Victorian Britain, 1981

R. Swet, Antiquaries: the Discovery of the Past in Eighteenth-Century Britain, 2004

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Thomas Phillips Unit coordinator
Peter Liddel Unit coordinator

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