* 1200 words
* due Monday 24 November, 2014, 5 p.m.
* upload on canvas; paper copy to my office (#07-23)
Read carefully Erich Auerbach’s chapter “Odysseus’ Scar” from his magisterial Mimesis—written during WWII while he, a German-Jewish philologist, was in exile in Istanbul. It is one of the founding texts of the modern discipline of comparative literature and inspired your professor to become a literary critic. Take note of his methods of analysis, his technique of close-reading, and his synthetic arguments about texts and cultures. This will be your model for your third assignment. You will build on the skills you acquired in the last two assignments—asking questions and close-reading—to analyze two texts and construct an argument which will illuminate a problem that they share. You may write on any two post-Homeric or post-Sanskritic text that we have studied.
- Sexual ethics
The norms of sexual behavior are pervasive in the texts that we have studied. Pick two moments and explore the relationship between gender, desire, transgression, and social norms.
- Us and others
How do Herodotus, Sima Qian, Euripides, Jami and/or the narrator of Genesis represent the foreign: their customs, geography, language, people?
- Gods and mortals
In what ways do human beings communicate with the divine?
 An illuminating review of Auerbach’s life is in the The New Yorker. 9 Dec. 2013.