Hero o 01:190:377 o Index 14569 o
RU o Fall 2002 o 4th period 1:10-2:30 o MU-113 T and FH-A5 TH
Lowell Edmunds o edmunds@rci o RAB 008 DC o Office Hours F 1:15 - 2:15 and by appointment

Goals of the course:

* To gain a critical perspective on the hero, fame, prestige, and celebrity in contemporary America.
* To acquire knowledge of some of the principal sources for the ancient Greek hero.
* To develop, through the reading of heroic poems from other cultures, a comparative perspective on the Greek hero.
* To develop the ability to formulate and express critical opinions on issues raised during the course.

Evaluation: Paper in class 9/12 (10%).  Five tests: three quizzes (total of 40%), mid-term (25%), and final examination (25%). The lowest quiz grade will be dropped.  After the first test, all the rest are cumulative: they all require knowledge of the material covered in the previous tests. Quizzes are multiple choice and/or identifications.  THERE ARE ABSOLUTELY NO MAKE-UP QUIZZES.  Mid-term and final are essays.  They are required.  Papers or other forms of work may not be substituted for any of the tests.  There is no "extra credit" option.  Make-ups on mid-term and final are only for medical excuses (original copy, signed by physician, with 'phone number).

Required texts:

Beowulf, trans. Burton Raffel.  Signet Classic.  0-451-52740-2  PB
Homer: Iliad, trans. S. Lombardo.  Hackett.  0-87220-352-2 PB
Homer: Odyssey, trans. S. Lombardo.  Hackett.  0-87220-484-7 PB
The Epic of Gilgamesh: A New Translation, trans. Andrew George.  Penguin.  0-14-044721-0 PB.

Available at Rutgers Bookstore.  Assignments must be read in these translations.  Bring text to class with you in weeks in which it is assigned.  One copy of each text is on reserve in Alexander.

Webpage for course:

Weekly assignments:

Abbreviation: wp = course webpage.

Week 1

Tues. Sept. 3 Intro.
Thurs. Sept. 5 Definitions of hero (wp).  Real-life American heroes: Goode on prestige (wp); Carlyle on hero-worship (wp); Kris Darby, "In Memory of Our Fallen Heroes" (; Statement of Senator Patrick Leahy

Week 2

Tues. Sept. 10 Distinction between fame and celebrity: Daniel J.  Boorstin, The Image (New York, 1962), Ch. 2  (on Alexander reserve). Fifteen minutes of fame: background on Andy Warhol:  Fictional American heroes: Cowboys and superheroes (wp); "Star Wars"; "Wizard of Oz":; "Spider-Man."

Thurs. Sept. 12 The life-story of the ancient hero: the typological approach (wp).  Archetypes: Joseph Campbell:  Paper in class on concepts of the hero.

Week 3

Tues. Sept. 17, Thurs. Sept. 19:  Gilgamesh, pp. i-lv, 1-69

Week 4

Tues. Sept. 24, Thurs. Sept. 26: Gilgamesh, pp. 70-100, 141-208

Week 5

Tues. Oct. 1, Thurs. Oct. 3: Iliad, pp. xvii-xxv; xlviii-lviii; 1-111 (Books 1-5).  QUIZ 1.

Week 6

Tues. Oct. 8, Thurs. Oct. 10: Iliad, pp. 112-197 (Books 6-10)

Week 7

Tues. Oct. 15, Thurs. Oct. 17: Iliad, pp. 198-264 (Books 11-13)
MID-TERM Thurs. Oct. 17

Week 8

Tues. Oct. 22, Thurs. Oct. 23: Iliad, pp. 265-373 (Books 14-18)

Week 9

Tues. Oct. 29, Thurs. Oct. 31: Iliad, pp. 374-492 (Books 19-24). QUIZ 2.

Week 10

Tues. Nov. 5, Thurs. Nov. 7: Odyssey, pp. 1-94 (Books 1-6)

Week 11

Tues. Nov. 12, Thurs. Nov. 14: Odyssey, pp. 95-191 (Books 7-12)

Week 12

Tues. Nov. 19, Thurs. Nov. 21: Odyssey, pp. 192-289 (Books 8-18)

Week 13 (Thanksgiving Week)

Tues. Nov. 26 = Thurs. class: Odyssey, pp. 290-381 (Books 19-24)

Week 14

Tues. Dec. 3, Thurs. Dec. 5: Beowulf, pp. ix-xi, 23-121

Week 15

Tues. Dec. 10 Conclusions. QUIZ 3.

Dec. 19 8:00 - 11:00 A.M.  Final Examination.