Renaissance Responses to Classical Genre Theory

Tanya Pollard and Cristiana Sogno

Th 4:15-6:15, Fall 2012; GC 3309


Pollard Office: 4408 GC, 3-3:45 & 6:15-6:30 Th

Office phone: 212-817-8351


Sogno office: LL 924E, M 11:20-12; 2-3

Office phone: 212-636-7583 



course website:










Plato, Ion, in Gilbert; Rana Saadi Liebert, “Fact and fiction in Plato’s Ion,American Journal of Philology 131:2 (2010), 179-218; John Gould, “Plato and performance,” in The Language of the Cave: 13-25.



Plato, Republic, in Gilbert; Elizabeth Asmis, “Plato on Poetic Creativity,” in The Cambridge Companion to Plato, ed. R. Kraut (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1992), 338–64; Elizabeth Belfiore, “A Theory of Imitation in Plato’s Republic,” Transactions of the American Philological Association 114 (1984), 121–46.



Aristotle, Poetics; in Gilbert; Jonathan Barnes, “Rhetoric and Poetics,” in The Cambridge Companion to Aristotle (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995), 259-86; Stephen Halliwell, “The Rewards of Mimesis” in The Aesthetics of Mimesis, 177-206.



Aristotle, Poetics; in Gilbert; David Wiles, “Aristotle’s Poetics and ancient dramatic theory,” in The Cambridge Companion to Greek and Roman Theatre, ed. Marianne McDonald and J. Michael Walton (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007); Stephen Halliwell, “Tragic Pity: Aristotle and Beyond,” in The Aesthetics of Mimesis, 207-233.



Horace, Ars Poetica; Donatus, On Comedy and Tragedy; in Gilbert; Andrew Laird, “The Ars Poetica,” in The Cambridge Companion to Horace, ed. S. Harrison (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007); Ellen Oliensis, Chapter Five, Horace and the Rhetoric of Authority, Ch. 5 on Ars Poetica  (1998).



Cinthio, Castelvetro, Guarini, in Gilbert; Daniel Javitch, “The Emergence of Poetic Genre Theory in the Sixteenth Century,” Modern Language Quarterly. 59.2 (1998): 139-169; Nicholas Cronk, “Aristotle, Horace, and Longinus: the Conception of Reader Response,” The Cambridge History of Literary Criticism, Vol. 3, ed. Glyn Norton (Cambridge University Press, 1999), 199-204.



Sidney, Jonson, in Gilbert; Colin Burrow, “Combative Criticism: Jonson, Milton, and Classical Literary Criticism in England,” The Cambridge History of Literary Criticism, vol. 3: The Renaissance, ed. Glyn Norton (Cambridge University Press, 1999), 487-499; Irene Samuel, “The Influence of Plato on Sir Philip Sidney's Defense of Poesy,” Modern Language Quarterly 1:3 (1940), 383-391.



Euripides, Hecuba and Alcestis; Plautus, Menaechmi; Ra'anana Meridor, “Hecuba's Revenge Some Observations on Euripides’ Hecuba,” The American Journal of Philology 99:1 (1978), 28-35; Bernard Knox, “Euripidean Comedy,” in Word and Action: Essays on the Ancient Theater (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1979), 250-274; Niall W. Slater, from Plautus in Performance:  The Theater of the Mind (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1985).



Heliodorus, Aethiopica; Simon Goldhill, “Genre,” in The Cambridge Companion to the Greek and Roman Novel (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2008), 185-200; Alban K. Forcione, “Heliodorus and Literary Theory,” in Cervantes, Aristotle, and the Persiles (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1970), 49-87.



Shakespeare, Comedy of Errors; Robert S. Miola, “New Comedic Errors,” in Shakespeare and Classical Comedy: The Influence of Plautus and Terence (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1994), 19-37; Laurie Maguire, “The Girls from Ephesus,” in The Comedy of Errors: Critical Essays, ed. Robert S. Miola (New York: Routledge, 1997), 355-91.



Shakespeare, Hamlet; Martin Mueller, “Hamlet and the World of Ancient Tragedy,” Arion, 3rd ser., 5.1 (1997): 22–45; Katharine Goodland, “The Gendered Poetics of Tragedy in Shakespeare’s Hamlet,” in Female Mourning in Medieval and Renaissance English Drama (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2006), 171-200.



Shakespeare, Winter’s Tale; Douglas B. Wilson, “Euripides’ Alcestis and the Ending of Shakespeare’s The Winter’s Tale,” Iowa State Journal of Research 58 (1984), 345-55; Simon Reynolds, “Pregnancy and Imagination in The Winter's Tale and Heliodorus' Aithiopika,” English Studies: A Journal of English Language and Literature 84.5 (2003), 433-47.



Final project presentations



Paper due



This course has one required text: Allan H. Gilbert, ed., Literary Criticism: Plato to Dryden (Wayne State University Press, paperback, $22.95).  The Graduate Center does not have an official bookshop; you may purchase this text through any channels you like.  We note that the GC encourages the use of through the Graduate Center’s website, which incurs benefits for the Graduate Center library.


All other primary texts may be read in any edition and/or online; classical texts can be found through the Perseus project, at .  Secondary readings will either be available through electronic databases or will be provided on PDFs through e-mail or E-reserves. In order to facilitate close readings in class discussion, please to come to class either with a hard copies of the relevant texts or with electronic devices on which you can access them in class.



1.              One final project. This can be a term paper, 12-15 pages, or (for classics students) a translation and/or commentary on one of the texts.

2.              Three written response essays, two to be given as class presentations.  Each written response should be 2 pages, closely analyzing a topic or passage from one of the primary texts and/or an aspect of one of the secondary readings.

3.              Attendance and active contribution in seminar discussions.


Recommended additional readings