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Apr 9 at 8am - Jun 16 at 11:59pm
This assignment was locked Jun 16 at 11:59pm.
Due date: Papers may be submitted at any time during the quarter, but no later than Wednesday, June 10.
Length etc.: About 3-5 pages -- more if you wish, but please no less. Please submit your paper via Canvas.
Purpose etc. For this paper I am not necessarily asking you to write a 'research paper' (though you may think of it that way if you prefer) but rather an essay on or investigation of a topic that may be of your choosing or chosen from the list of topics I will construct and append below as the quarter progresses. If you devise your own topic, please run your idea by me first. You may opt to write on a topic that combines our two texts -- the Pro Caelio and the Catullus poems -- on you may write on either the Cicero or the Catullus.
Suggested topics (to be added to and expanded as the quarter progresses): These suggestions are merely ideas that have occurred/will occur to me as I've been reading through our texts...and they are simply suggestions. I've divided my suggestions into three groups. You are free to choose your own topic, or devise a different 'take' on something I suggest here:
- One distinctive characteristic of Cicero's speeches generally is the frequent use of metaphorical language. For example, at Cael. 19, the number of 'water' words (similarly, you'll notice a number of metaphors related to the 'sea', still others related to military matters). Dyck briefly addresses this in his useful discussion of Cicero's 'Language and Style' (pp. 17-22), but especially on pp. 21-22. Write a paper that traces one or more metaphors as deployed in this speech and what you feel they add to the effect or impact of the speech. You might consider for instance whether or not they are used merely for artistic effect...or do metaphors contribute in any substantive way to the force of the argument?
- Related to the above: Ciceronian style, or some aspect(s) of it. Dyck's section (pp. 17-22) on this is excellent, if you're interested particularly in issues of language and style, he can give you some good guidance (so can I...there's quite a bit on this subject!). A paper might, for example, offer a stylistic analysis -- sort of a commentary, if you will -- of a section or two of the speech (one that particularly catches your eye); or trace the use of a particular stylistic device or trope (metaphor counts: see #1 above! see my more specific suggestion about this in #8 below) throughout the speech.
- Word study/studies. A common way to gain a deeper appreciation of Cicero (or any author for that matter) is by looking more deeply at a particular word or words that he uses frequently. In this category, for instance, we might lump all 'per-' words (which as Feiyang pointed out on 4.7, appear four times just in Cael. 25b-26). Some other examples might include: meretrix (and related words or cognates), humanitas (and cognates), pudicitia (and cognates), deliciae...and many others (I'll add to this list as I think of them!). The indispensable tool for this is the Packard Humanities Institute's database of Classical Latin Texts (to which you have access as UW students). A little bit of a learning curve, but pretty easy to master. Note that Dyck has a word list at the end of your text, useful for locating places where he discusses particular words.
- For those of you interested in or familiar with Roman Comedy. As we have noted, ever since Katherine Geffcken's Comedy in the Pro Caelio (Brill 1973), it is commonplace to note that the speech is itself a kind of Roman comedy. What features does the speech in fact have in common with Roman comedy?
- Assessment of a scholarly article about the Pro Caelio. I call these 'who, what, why, so what?' papers. Simply choose a scholarly article on some aspect of the speech you find interesting and assess it (I can help you choose one, if you wish, and/or Dyck's Works Cited can also steer you to some possibilities). What is the argument? do you find it persuasive (or not)? Especially suited for those of you who wish to pursue the considerable body of scholarship on this speech.
- The legal background to the Pro Caelio. This paper should summarize the law(s) under which Caelius is being accused. Dyck summarizes this at the outset of his Introduction, but dig a little deeper than this: what else can you find out, for instance, about the Lex Plautia di vi? You might also consider the degree to which Cicero makes an actual legal argument in the Pro Caelio. Where, that is, does he address issues of law? is there in fact any legal argument at all in the speech?
- In his Introduction Dyck offers a summary of what he sees as the 'role' of Clodia. Summarize his assessment, and indicate reasons why you agree or disagree with him. Does Clodia in fact fulfill other functions that Dyck overlooks or downplays? Another way to approach this is to ignore Dyck altogether, and simply write a paper in which you explore what you believe is the role of Clodia in the speech.
- For those of you interested in formal aspects of Roman rhetoric (I'm thinking here in more specific terms than in #2 above). Every Ciceronian speech (every speech, in fact, knowingly or not) features a number of rhetorical devices and tropes, e.g., prosopopoeia, procatalepsis, etc. The most prominent of these are mentioned in Dyck's commentary (his discussion can be located by looking at his index). Choose one of more of these 'devices' and examine how it/they are used in the speech -- that is, what effect they are intended to have. There are a variety of resources for learning more about what these 'devices' are, but perhaps the most useful is the Loeb edition of the Rhetorica ad Herennium, a text contemporary with and once believed to be written by Cicero. It provides an extended list, discussion, and definition of virtually every rhetorical 'trick' in a Roman orator's bag.
- Same as #5 above: assessment of a scholarly article about the Pro Caelio. I call these 'who, what, why, so what?' papers. Simply choose a scholarly article on some aspect of the speech you find interesting and assess it (I can help you choose one, if you wish). What is the argument? do you find it persuasive (or not)? Especially suited for those of you who wish to pursue the considerable body of scholarship on any or all of the 'Lesbia' poems.
- Same as #3 above: a word study...but see under 'Comparative' below for maybe a more interesting exercise.
- A very wise person, who knew poetry backwards and forwards and in several languages, once told me that the most basic question to be asked of any poem is, 'Is that a good poem?' I protested: 'What's 'good'?' Person responded, 'That's for you to figure out.' So with that in mind: choose a poem by Catullus -- or a couple of poems -- you have enjoyed reading, and write a paper in which you answer the question, 'Is that a good poem?' Of course, you can't just say 'yes'....you have to explain what elements of the poem(s) lead you to consider it 'good' (and therefore you have to define what 'good' means to you, at least when it comes to poetry).
- A further narrowing of #3: is Catullus 68 a 'good poem'? There are, however, aspects of this poem that in and of themselves warrant a paper -- such as the way Catullus repeats images/words he's invoked or interweaves different 'stories (his own affair, Laodamia and Protesilaus, his brother's death) or the role of similes.
- It is not unusual for Catullus to 'pair' poems -- e.g., 2 & 3 (the 'passer' poems) or 5 & 7 (the 'basia' poems). An analysis of one or more of these pairs might consider how they work together (or don't). How does one help explicate or complicate the other? Do shared words shift meaning? Does, that is, your interpretation of one change once you've read the other?
- Pick a theme that you've noticed occurs in more than one of the poems you have read, and trace and discuss that theme. Examples: infidelity, its opposite (=loyalty), the physical and mental effects of love, animals in Catullus (I know! Strange, right? but think about it -- sparrows, doves, goats...), etc.
- The Pro Caelio and the 'Lesbia' poems allegedly have in common the character of Clodia/Lesbia. Whether or not you believe that Catullus' Lesbia is Clodia, they are central characters in each author. Your paper might examine what they have in common...and what they do not.
- Are there any significant overlaps in vocabulary/word usage between the Cicero and Catullus? This may be a topic that would take one well beyond what we are reading here...or rather, it may be that while shared words/phrases in Catullus and Cicero is a useful object of inquiry, the 'sampling' represented by the Pro Caelio and the 'Lesbia' poems is too small to be significant. Pretty easy to determine if that is the case, however (just pick a couple of words and do word searches on them...see on the PHI website above -- #3 in Pro Caelio topics -- for easiest way to do this). Among those we've noticed, for example, is deliciae.
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