Kalón and Chaos: The Secret History and its References (LIT2423.01)

Benjamin Anastas

“Live forever!” is the chosen mantra of the louche, monied and relentlessly insular group of Classics students at the center of Donna Tartt’s now classic literary suspense novel The Secret History. Under the influence of their classics professor Julian Morrow–a “divine” with special status on the campus of Hampden College, a dark mirror-image of our own campus–they undertake experiments in ancient Dionysian religious rites that that culminate in two murders. The novel’s animating stroke of genius is to incorporate the same Classical literature the students are enthralled by into the novel by two main methods: adaptation and allusion. We’ll devote the term to reading The Secret History closely, pairing it with the major classical works it relies on, including Plato’s Symposium and Euripides’s The Bacchae, as well as Modern works like The Great Gatsby and T.S. Eliot’s The Waste Land.


Learning Outcomes:
Students in this course will develop their own capacities to do the following:
--Perform close readings of both primary and scholarly texts and subject them to a sophisticated analysis.
-- Write clearly and persuasively about the texts they encounter and the ideas that animate them.
--Develop and communicate their own ideas as literary citizens in class discussion, in both critical and creative writing assignments, and in oral presentations.
--Conduct independent and collaborative research projects using library materials, online databases, and other sources.


Delivery Method: Fully in-person
Course Level: 2000-level
Credits: 2
M, 4:10PM-6:00PM (Full-term)
Maximum Enrollment: 20
Course Frequency: Once a year

Categories: Literature , Fully In-Person , All courses
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