Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Reading Period 15: January 12-25: Greece

Class meeting: January 25
Due date: January 24, 7pm

Long Read: Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka, chapters 2 and 3.

Short Read: The Iliad, by Homer. Book 22, The Death of Hector


Fragment by Sappho (read all the translations here)

Some an army of horsemen, some an army on foot
and some say a fleet of ships is the loveliest sight
on this dark earth; but I say it is what-
ever you desire:

and it it possible to make this perfectly clear
to all; for the woman who far surpassed all others
in her beauty, Helen, left her husband --
the best of all men --

behind and sailed far away to Troy; she did not spare
a single thought for her child nor for her dear parents
but [the goddess of love] led her astray
[to desire...]

reminds me now of Anactoria
although far away,

--Translated by Josephine Balmer

Creative Assignment:

Create a set of before and after illustrations for the characters in The Metamorphosis. Begin with the "status quo" before Gregor was transformed into a bug. End with the final moments of the novel. Use objects, colors, facial expressions, angles, and lighting to indicate the difference in everyone's situation before and after.


Sappho, from a wall painting in Pompeii
One of the most challenging literary jobs is translator. Translators study linguistics and languages, and also literary forms and devices, and work hard to bring life and meaning to ancient and contemporary texts, giving access to audiences that wouldn't normally be able to read them. Sometimes this involves changing idioms and vocabulary to make it relatable for readers in a different culture or time. The most important step in translating is understanding the original work and what the author was trying to communicate, so that rather than giving a word for word decoding, a translator can give readers the intention of the author. After reading all the translations of the Sappho fragment, decide which one you think is the best. Then write your own translation of this poem, giving it meaning for a contemporary audience. Even though you can't understand the original Greek, glean the meaning and message from the other translations before you create your own. You can change some of the references and vocabulary to fit 2016. Your post should include a short explanation of which translation you liked best and why, and then your own translation.

Writing Assignment:

Think about your life and how you feel about your existence at this moment in time. If you were to wake up transformed into an animal that reflects your situation, what would you be transformed into? A hamster in a wheel? A caged bird? A velociraptor? A slug? A robot? A tiger? A lamb? Write a short story in which you describe what happens when you wake up in the morning and experience your own metamorphosis. You can choose whether you can communicate with your family or not, depending on the level of alienation you wish to portray.


Write a 300 word essay about any aspect of Greek art or architecture that interests you, and also an outline of that essay. Whether you write the outline first is up to you, but you must include the outline with your post. Make sure you choose a topic that you can at least summarize in 300 words, and cite the web site(s) from which you derived information.


Read this 19000 word letter that Kafka wrote to his father, and then write a 19000 word letter to your own father. JUST KIDDING! Don't do this one. You have other choices. YOU HAVE CHOICES! Go back! Write about Greek urns! Or being transformed into a wildebeest! Do it!


No quiz! Finish reading Metamorphosis and study for the final exam. There will be at least one question on the final to check that you read the end of the book.

Final exam prep:

1. Read over your notes.
2. Read over all the old quizzes.
3. Read over all the old blog posts.

The final will cover everything in geography from the Phillippines to Austria/Romania/Hungary and everything in literature including The Good Earth, Haroun and the Sea of Stories, and Metamorphosis.

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