CL2TA-Theoretical Approaches in Classics

Module Provider: Classics
Number of credits: 10 [5 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Spring term module
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Current from: 2018/9

Module Convenor: Dr Lucy Fletcher


Type of module:

Summary module description:

This module introduces key theoretical approaches to reading and analysing texts. Through exploring these theories, the module fosters a deeper understanding and appreciation of textual dynamics; that is to say, of issues such as: how texts create meaning; the nature of narrative; how texts relate to one another; how texts relate to their social, historical and material context; and the significance of authors’ intentions and readers’ responses. The module may also consider how ideologically motivated readings, such as Feminist, Marxist or Post-colonialist, can illuminate ancient texts and reveal things about under-represented minorities in the ancient world. Overall, this module helps students to become more sensitive readers of ancient texts, both as literature and as evidence for ancient history.


To offer students an introduction to key theoretical approaches to literature, which are of relevance to the study of ancient and modern texts.

To encourage a critical approach by students to the theoretical approaches studied so as to assess the heuristic value of the approaches for the analysis of ancient literature.

To familiarise students with scholarly debates surrounding the use(s) of theoretical approaches in the analysis of ancient texts.

Assessable learning outcomes:

Students are expected to be able to:

  • explain the main tenets of particular theoretical approaches

  • assess the value of theoretical approaches for the analysis of ancient literary texts

  • conduct independent research

  • answer an essay question which clearly articulates an argument which is logical and supported by evidence and effective critical analysis

Additional outcomes:

The module develops students’ oral communication skills through presenting and discussing their ideas in seminars. It encourages the development of critical thinking in evaluating modern theories and their value for studying ancient literature. The coursework develops written communication skills, including the construction of logical arguments. Core bibliography is provided, but students also develop their academic research skills in researching their coursework.

Outline content:

Topics to be covered may include: Narrative theory; Intertextuality; Reader-response theory; New Historicism; Feminist approaches; Post-colonialist approaches.

Lectures outline the nature of particular theoretical approaches; how they relate to one another; and how they can inform the reading of ancient literature, including possible issues with their use in the interpretation of ancient literature. Seminars offer opportunities to discuss existing theoretical approaches to ancient literature in critical terms, considering what is valuable and what is problematic about such theoretically informed readings of ancient texts. The existing scholarly approaches studied will consider approaches to a range of ancient literary texts, both Latin and Greek and from a variety of genres.

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:

The module is taught through a combination of lectures and seminars. Lectures introduce key themes, issues and approaches; seminars offer an opportunity for discussion of set reading. There is one contact hour per week for ten weeks.

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 5
Seminars 5
Guided independent study 90
Total hours by term 100.00
Total hours for module 100.00

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written assignment including essay 100

Summative assessment- Examinations:

Summative assessment- Coursework and in-class tests:

The module is assessed by coursework: an essay of 3000 words which is due in Week 1 of the Summer Term.

Formative assessment methods:

Discussion of readings and interpretation in the seminars affords opportunities for feedback.

Penalties for late submission:
The Module Convener will apply the following penalties for work submitted late:

  • where the piece of work is submitted after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): 10% of the total marks available for that piece of work will be deducted from the mark for each working day[1] (or part thereof) following the deadline up to a total of five working days;
  • where the piece of work is submitted more than five working days after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): a mark of zero will be recorded.

  • The University policy statement on penalties for late submission can be found at:
    You are strongly advised to ensure that coursework is submitted by the relevant deadline. You should note that it is advisable to submit work in an unfinished state rather than to fail to submit any work.

    Assessment requirements for a pass:

    40% overall

    Reassessment arrangements:

    Coursework will be carried forward if it bears a confirmed grade of 40% or more. Otherwise it must be resubmitted in August.

    Additional Costs (specified where applicable):



    Required text books


    Specialist equipment or materials


    Specialist clothing, footwear or headgear


    Printing and binding


    Computers and devices with a particular specification


    Travel, accommodation and subsistence


    Last updated: 20 April 2018


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