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New Course Supplement 2016


LAT 22.01 Lucretius

The title of Lucretius’ poem suggests a treatise on natural science, and in fact there is a good deal of natural science in the poem, both what we would call theoretical physics (e.g. the Law of Conservation of Matter) and what we would call psychology (e.g. how dreams work) and anthropology (a rudimentary theory of evolution). In addition, there is an urgent concern with certain topics in ethics: how to manage certain fears, how to handle sexual urges, how to rise above ordinary sources of distress. The poetry itself is alternately very technical and richly beautiful. Lucretius was an important poetic influence on both Vergil and Ovid.

The class will read extensively from the De Rerum Natura in Latin and will also study materials in English that introduce related ancient texts and some contemporary views on Lucretius’ project.

Distributive and/or World Culture

Dist:TMV; WCult:W

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