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Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Book: Homer

Course Times & Enrolment

Wednesdays from 15th April 2020 (Code LI294-302) Wednesdays from
15th April 2020 2:10pm - 4:00pm • (10 classes)
Holyrood Campus • Tutor: Rolland Man BA MA MSc
Sorry, this course is cancelled

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, exploring the context in which it was written, its sources and its legacy.

Course Details

Pre-requisites for enrolment


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)

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

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

Class Handouts

Fragments from critical appraisal of the works and authors will be provided to provide a background and facilitate teaching


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.