Lifelong Learning New York City

Lifelong Learning at  Swarthmore: New York City

Fall 2017:

Sophocles (LLS 178NY)

Meets Tuesdays, 6:45 - 9:15 p.m.
Sept. 12 – Oct. 31
10 Hudson Yards (10th Ave. & 30th St.), 26th Floor, Intersection

The quintessential Athenian tragedian, Sophocles had the good luck to live during the fifth century BCE, the acme of Athenian civilization. He was heir to a rich mythic and literary tradition from Homer to the lyric poets, and to Aeschylus, his older colleague.

Athens in Sophocles’ time gave tragedy pride of place in the yearly festival honoring Dionysus. He himself was hugely popular within the whole community, even as the plays he wrote and directed were so artistically sophisticated, deeply thoughtful, and emotionally engaging that they are performed, studied, and argued about to this day.

The plays:

Antigone, The Trachinian Women, Oedipus Tyrannus, Philoctetes, Oedipus at Colonus, plus Prometheus Bound (Aeschylus?) and Bacchae (Euripides).

Major Topics:

  • Sophocles in his context: history, literature, religion, politics
  • Sophocles as dramatist and poet (poetry being the medium of all Greek drama
  • Issues and themes: humans and gods, morality, city vs. family, love and friendship, knowledge and ignorance, suffering and death, heroism

The Professor:

Gil Rose, Susan Lippincott Professor Emeritus of Modern and Classical Languages.  For 35 years at Swarthmore he taught courses and Honors seminars on Greek and Latin literature, including Greek tragedy.  He has authored an annotated Greek edition of Oedipus at Colonus.

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