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Developed with South African apartheid and Northern Ireland’s “Troubles” in mind, Seamus Heaney’s adaptation of Sophocles’ Philoctetes explores the all-too-human tendency towards self-pity as an obstacle to communal reconciliation. Using the strategy laid out in Mortimer Adler’s classic How to Read a Book, this course, we’ll read Heaney’s play once quickly to get an overview and then again more slowly to figure out the details. Along the way, we’ll pay careful attention to the dramatic, psychological, and philosophical features of a text that is frequently quoted by American politicians.
- Heaney, The Cure at Troy: A Version of Sophocles’ Philoctetes
TAUGHT: SEPTEMBER 2023