Languages for All
Short Courses
Your basket
Your account

Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Book: Homer (Online)

Course Times & Enrolment

This course is currently unavailable.

Course Summary

Some books have the reputation of being difficult, and scare potential readers away. Through close reading and supportive discussion, this course aims to make accessible and enjoyable, some notoriously ‘difficult’ texts. We will concentrate on one of these Big Bad Books by exploring the context in which it was written as well as its sources and its legacy.

Course Details

Pre-requisites for enrolment

Students will need to be able to confidently use videoconferencing software and be comfortable with using websites.

Special Information

In order to participate in this course, you will need access to a computer with a speaker, microphone and a good internet connection. An internet browser is required to access the online learning platform. Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox are the recommended browsers.

Content of Course

1. Introduction.

2. Homer – The Iliad, Books 1 – 6.

3. Homer – The Iliad, Books 7 – 12.

4. Homer – The Iliad, Books 13 – 18.

5. Homer – The Iliad, Books 19 – 24.

6. Homer – The Odyssey, Books 1 – 5.

7. Homer – The Odyssey, Books 6 – 12.

8. Homer – The Odyssey, Books 13 – 18.

9. Homer – The Odyssey, Books 19 – 24.

10. Margaret Atwood - The Penelopiad.

Teaching method(s)

This course will be delivered via live online sessions.

Discussion-based classes, with a short introductory lecture in every session.

Learning outcomes

By the end of this course, students should be able to:

  • Engage critically with fictional texts, describe and analyse themes and techniques and deliver the results in a lucid and articulate style;

  • Demonstrate a good general understanding of different narrative strategies and storytelling traditions and the ways they inform each other;

  • Explain the social, political and cultural context in which the texts were created;

  • Discuss the degree to which literature, and popular culture in general, are influenced by politics and ideology.


Core Readings

Students should not purchase books until the course is confirmed to run, and their teacher instructs them to do so.

The edition shown is the one currently in print. Students may use any other edition:

  • Homer. (1987). The Iliad. London: Penguin Classics

  • Homer. (2003). The Odyssey. London: Penguin Classics

  • Atwood M. (2018). The Penelopiad. Edinburgh: Canongate


If you have questions regarding the course or enrolment, please contact COL Reception at Paterson's Land by email or by phone 0131 650 4400.

Student support

If you have a disability, learning difficulty or health condition which may affect your studies, please let us know by ticking the 'specific support needs' box on your course application form. This will allow us to make appropriate adjustments in advance and in accordance with your rights under the Equality Act 2010. For more information please visit the Student Support section of our website.