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Deborah Beck


Associate FacultyPhD 1997, Harvard University

Associate Professor in the Department of Classics, College of Liberal Arts
Deborah Beck

Contact

Interests


Formulas and oral aesthetics in early Greek poetry; cognitive theories of reading and image processing; speech and speech representation in Homeric epic; representations of art and interpretation in Augustan Latin poetry

Biography


Research and other work:
Formulas and oral aesthetics in early Greek poetry; cognitive theories of reading and image processing; speech and speech representation in Homeric epic; representations of art and interpretation in Augustan Latin poetry

Courses taught:
Beginning Latin and Greek

Intermediate Latin (Cicero, love elegy, Ovid, Catullus); Intermediate Greek (Homer, Plato, Lysias, Herodotus, Euripides)

Advanced Latin (Petronius, Ovid, Horace, Vergil); Advanced Greek (Greek drama, Aristophanes, Sophocles)

Graduate courses: Survey of Greek literature; LAT 398T (Latin pedagogy)
seminars:  Homer (both Iliad and Odyssey), Archaic Poetry, Apollonius Argonautica, Latin predecessors of Vergil

Classical Mythology (with EL flag); Ancient Epic; Epic Tradition; Introduction to Western Literature; freshman seminar "Odysseus' Odysseys"

Select awards and honors:
2014, National Endowment for the Humanities summer stipend and Summer Research Assignment (SRA), University of Texas
2010, SRA, University of Texas
2004, National Endowment for the Humanities fellowship

Select recent publications and work in progress:

“Expressive Narration in Apollonius’ Argonauticaforthcoming in Syllecta Classica

"The First Simile of the Aeneid," Vergilius (2014)

Similes in Vergil’s “Aeneid,” in preparation for submission to Cambridge University Press

A commentary on Homer Iliad 16, proposal in preparation for Cambridge University Press (green and yellow series)

Books:

Speech Presentation in the Homeric Epics (University of Texas Press, 2012)
Companion database:  http://www.laits.utexas.edu/DeborahBeck

Homeric Conversation (Harvard University Press, 2005 [Hellenic Studies 14]).

Select articles and book chapters:

“Simile Structure in Homeric Epic and Vergil’s Aeneid,” 244-66 in Between Orality and Literacy: Communication and Adaptation in Antiquity, Scodel, R., ed. (Leiden: Brill, 2014)

“The Presentation of Song in Homer’s Odyssey,” 25–53 in Orality, Literacy and Performance in the Ancient World, Minchin, E., ed. (Leiden: Brill, 2012).

"Speech Act Types, Conversational Exchange, and the Speech Representational Spectrum in Homer," 137-51 in Narratology and Interpretation, J. Grethlien and A. Rengakos, eds. (Walter de Gruyter), 2009.

"Character-Quoted Direct Speech in the Iliad," Phoenix 62.2 (2008), 162-83.

"Narratology and Linguistics: An Interdisciplinary Perspective on Homeric Speech Representation," TAPA  138.2 (2008), 351-78.

"Ecphrasis, Audience, and Interpretation in Aeneid 1 and Odyssey 8.” American Journal of Philology 128.4 (2007), 533-49.

Courses


C C 303 • Intro To Classical Mythology

32150 • Spring 2016
Meets MWF 1:00PM-2:00PM WEL 1.316

Myths accompanied Greek and Roman culture as a constant from the pre-literate era before the Homeric epics through the hyper-literary myths of the Roman period. These myths helped the ancient Greeks and Romans to make sense of their world and to address issues with regard to religion, philosophy, and even early attempts at natural science. In different forms, myths still inform our understanding of the world, and Classical mythology in particular has continued to influence western art and literature up to the present day. This class begins with an examination of the Greek understanding of the creation of the world, the pantheon of gods, and the creation of humanity. Time will also be spent on the origins of Greek mythology, looking to the mythologies of Near Eastern cultures, which have influenced Greek thought. Throughout the course attention will be given to particular gods, goddesses, heroes and heroines and the myths which surround them in both the Greek and Roman traditions. Classical Civilization 303 and 352 may not both be counted.

This course carries a Global Cultures flag and fulfills the Visual and Performing Arts requirement.  It also fulfills the Cultural Expression, Human Experience, & Thought Course area requirement.

GK 365 • Homer Odyssey

32410 • Spring 2016
Meets MWF 10:00AM-11:00AM WAG 112
(also listed as GK 385)

Homer’s Odyssey is one of the earliest and most important poems in Classical – or indeed Western – literature.  Both the story of a journeying hero trying to make his way home and the specific ways that the Odyssey tells this tale have had an incalculable influence on later literature.  The course has three related goals:  strengthen students’ ability to read Greek both quickly and accurately through daily reading assignments and regular assessments; refine analytical skills, both orally and in writing; and develop critical facilities for understanding one of the foundational texts of both Classical and Western literature.  This will entail developing a familiarity with scholarly approaches to Homeric epic, in pursuit of which we will begin with a general introduction to Homeric poetry and Homeric studies via readings in historically important scholarship.  We will gradually transition to a more targeted focus later in the semester, on the different ways that scholars have dealt with oral aesthetics, following Milman Parry’s discoveries that the Homeric epics are oral and rely heavily on traditional language.

Initial assignments will be limited to what students can translate in class and the pace will steadily increase as the semester proceeds. There will be written exercises and translation tests along the way, ending with a comprehensive final exam; all quizzes will include unseen passages, aka sight translation.

  • Students in GK 365 will have additional writing assignments.
  • Students in GK 385 will have additional reading assignments.

 This course carries the Writing Flag and the Independent Inquiry Flag.

GK 506 • First-Year Greek I

32355 • Fall 2015
Meets MTWTHF 1:00PM-2:00PM WAG 10

This course is an introduction to reading ancient Greek - the language of some of the world’s oldest and best loved writings, including Homer, Herodotus, Plato, and the New Testament. We will cover enough basic grammar and vocabulary for you to begin reading short passages from a wide range of ancient Greek writers.

Greek 506 is the first half of a two-semester sequence that continues with Greek 507 and prepares students to advance to Intermediate Greek (GK 311 and 312), where students read selected works by authors like Plato and Homer.

Grades will be based on participation, homework, weekly quizzes, and four tests (three midterms and a final).

GK 383 • Survey Of Greek Literature

32395 • Fall 2015
Meets TTH 2:00PM-3:30PM WAG 112

Topics given in recent years include Greek oratory, Aristophanes, and Homer.

C C 322 • Ancient Epic

32400 • Spring 2015
Meets TTH 2:00PM-3:30PM WAG 308
(also listed as CTI 345)

This course will cover the most important epic poems of Greece and Rome.  Texts will include Hesiod Theogony, Homer Iliad and Odyssey, Apollonius Jason and the Golden Fleece, Vergil Aeneid and Ovid Metamorphoses. Students will become familiar with the major characters, story lines, and genre conventions of ancient epic. We will consistently focus on the influence these poems had on each other, including some post-classical readings. Major course goals include:  acquiring knowledge of major authors, characters, story lines, and genre conventions of ancient epic; improving close reading, analytical, and communication skills.

This course carries a Global Cultures flag.

GK 324 • Sophocles

32590 • Spring 2015
Meets TTH 11:00AM-12:30PM WAG 208

This course will focus on the Ajax and Antigone of Sophocles, possibly with selections from other plays of Sophocles in English and/or other authors on the Theban mythological cycle. These plays present two of the most memorable heroes in Greek tragedy, one male and one female. We will consider the idea of the “hero,” both the qualities these two characters have in common and the ways that they differ, particularly as a result of their genders; the basic elements of a Greek tragedy, such as the chorus, the different meters used, the overall structure of a typical play, and the staging of tragedy; the social and historical context in which Sophocles' plays were performed, including the structure and procedures of the Greek dramatic festivals; and the wide range of responses to these plays, including modern scholarly approaches to Greek tragedy.

C C 303 • Intro To Classical Mythology

33210 • Fall 2014
Meets MWF 2:00PM-3:00PM WCH 1.120

This course studies the Olympian gods and the major heroes and stories of classical mythology, as told in a variety of literary genres, media, cultures, and time periods.  We will consider how different poets tell their myths and stories, how genre affects the way a story is told, and how different versions of a particular story compare to each other.  In addition to close reading of ancient texts, the course will introduce you to the culture that produced these different works through images of the art and architecture of Greece and political/historical overviews. Artistic representations of stories also told in texts we read will receive special attention in order to explore relationships between text and image as ways of telling stories.This course carries the Global Cultures and Ethics & Leadership flags.Coursework will include midterm exams, in-class quizzes, regular posts to course discussion boards, and a final exam.

LAT 390 • Latin Predecessors Of Vergil

33750 • Fall 2014
Meets MW 3:30PM-5:00PM WAG 10

This course brings together several authors not often treated together – and in the case of Ennius, not often treated at all – to look at the range of Latin forerunners of Vergil’s Aeneid.  In the first part of the semester, we will spend 1-2 weeks each on the Annales, Catullus, Lucretius, and the Georgics, in order to acquire a strong grasp of those works' style and outlook. In addition, we will read parts of the Aeneid that draw on one, some or all of these poems, in order to examine how Vergil makes use of a range of different predecessors in creating the Aeneid.

Primary authors covered are fragments of Ennius (Skutch), Catullus, Lucretius, Vergil Georgics, and Vergil Aeneid. Specific readings will be chosen with an eye to the translation exam reading list.

Course work will include two short papers, a long research paper, and regular oral reports.

GK 312K • Intermediate Greek II

33840 • Spring 2014
Meets MWF 11:00AM-12:00PM MEZ 2.102

Continuation of Greek 311. Extensive selections of Greek prose and/or poetry. Class meetings will be devoted especially to translation, grammar and syntax, and secondarily to discussion of the texts in their cultural context.

Greek 312K and 312L may not both be counted.

Prerequisites Greek 311 with a grade of at least C.

LAT 398T • Supervised Teaching In Latin

34110 • Spring 2014
Meets F 2:00PM-5:00PM WAG 10

This course is designed to introduce graduate students to methods of teaching, especially introductory and intermediate Latin classes. Topics will include planning the course and devising the syllabus, presenting lessons, assigning and evaluating homework, making up and grading quizzes and exams, and other matters of importance.

Grading will be based on class participation and a number of projects.

C C 303 • Intro To Classical Mythology

33255 • Fall 2013
Meets MWF 2:00PM-3:00PM WEL 1.316

This course studies the Olympian gods and the major heroes and stories of classical mythology, as told in a variety of literary genres, media, cultures, and time periods.  We will consider how different poets tell their myths and stories, how genre affects the way a story is told, and how different versions of a particular story compare to each other.  In addition to close reading of ancient texts, the course will introduce you to the culture that produced these different works through images of the art and architecture of Greece and political/historical overviews.  Artistic representations of stories also told in texts we read will receive special attention in order to explore relationships between text and image as ways of telling stories.

This course carries the Global Cultures and Ethics & Leadership flags.

Coursework will include midterm exams, in-class quizzes, regular posts to course discussion boards, and a final exam.

GK 506 • First-Year Greek I

33475 • Fall 2013
Meets MTWTHF 11:00AM-12:00PM WAG 10

This course is an introduction to reading ancient Greek - the language of some of the world’s oldest and best loved writings, including Homer, Herodotus, Plato, and the New Testament. We will cover enough basic grammar and vocabulary for you to begin reading short passages from a wide range of ancient Greek writers.

Greek 506 is the first half of a two-semester sequence that continues with Greek 507 and prepares students to advance to Intermediate Greek (GK 311 and 312), where students read selected works by authors like Plato and Homer.

Grades will be based on participation, homework, weekly quizzes, and four tests (three midterms and a final).

GK 312K • Intermediate Greek II

33385 • Spring 2013
Meets MWF 11:00AM-12:00PM CAL 21

The goal of this course is to expand and reinforce your knowledge of Greek vocabulary, morphology, and syntax by exposing you to the most important poet in the language: Homer. We will read 2-3 books in the original Greek, covering aspects of Homeric grammar that are different from the Attic Greek that is more familiar to you from your work in previous Greek classes.  An introduction to Greek meter and exercises in scansion will be provided as well.  We will read large selections of Homer in translation as well as select secondary literature in order to introduce you to the genre and to discuss various cultural and literary aspects of Homeric epic. Course requirements will include daily translations, class attendance and participation, several exams, both announced and unannounced quizzes, and a final exam.

GK 390 • Apollonius

33435 • Spring 2013
Meets W 2:00PM-5:00PM WAG 10

This course will cover all of books 1 and 3 in Greek, with selections from other books in Greek and the entire poem in English.  Students will read mainly in Apollonius, but there will also be regular readings from poets that either influenced Apollonius or were influenced by him, including Pindar, Euripides (Medea), and Callimachus. Depending on time, we may also read some Homer and/or Vergil. The course will have the complementary aims of appreciating Apollonius on his own Hellenistic terms and of exploring the relationships between his poems and other important works of ancient literature. Course requirements include two short papers, a major resch paper, class participation and regular presentations, and regular translation quizzes.

C C 303 • Intro To Classical Mythology

33010 • Fall 2012
Meets TTH 12:30PM-2:00PM JGB 2.324

This course studies the Olympian gods and the major heroes and stories of classical mythology, as told in a variety of literary genres, media, cultures, and time periods.  We will consider how different poets tell their myths and stories, how genre affects the way a story is told, and how different versions of a particular story compare to each other.  In addition to close reading of ancient texts, the course will introduce you to the culture that produced these different works through images of the art and architecture of Greece and political/historical overviews.  Artistic representations of stories also told in texts we read will receive special attention in order to explore relationships between text and image as ways of telling stories.  

This course carries a Global Cultures flag and fulfills the Visual and Performing Arts requirement; it may also be counted as an elective.

Coursework will include midterm exams, in-class quizzes, regular posts to course discussion boards, and a final exam.

C C 322 • Ancient Epic

33100 • Spring 2012
Meets TTH 11:00AM-12:30PM CBA 4.326
(also listed as CTI 345)

This course will cover the most important epic poems of Greece and Rome.  Texts will include Hesiod Theogony, Homer Iliad and Odyssey, Apollonius Jason and the Golden Fleece, Vergil Aeneid and Ovid Metamorphoses. Students will become familiar with the major characters, story lines, and genre conventions of ancient epic. We will consistently focus on the influence these poems had on each other, including some post-classical readings. Major course goals include:  acquiring knowledge of major authors, characters, story lines, and genre conventions of ancient epic; improving close reading, analytical, and communication skills.  Course requirements include: class attendance and participation, regular discussion board posts, two midterm exams, a final paper, and a final exam.

GK 390 • Homer

33290 • Spring 2012
Meets TH 2:00PM-5:00PM WAG 10

This course will read selections from Homer's Iliad in Greek, and the entire poem in English. Course work will provide a grounding in the general outlines of Homeric poetry and Homeric scholarship. In order to provide focus within this large field of inquiry, we will be looking in particular at similes. The Iliad has significantly more similes than the Odyssey does, and several recent books have been published about Homeric similes, both of which make this a fruitful area for current study. Emphasis throughout will be on developing professional speaking, reading, writing, and analytical skills.

 

Course work includes regular class participation and discussion board postings, two short papers, regular in-class presentations, several translation quizzes, and a final research paper. Students will also have opportunities to be involved with the conference of Homerists working in Texas, to be held in February 2012.

C C 303 • Intro To Classical Mythology

33285 • Spring 2011
Meets MWF 9:00AM-10:00AM WAG 101

This course studies the Olympian gods and the major heroes and stories of classical mythology, as told in a variety of literary genres, media, cultures, and time periods.  We will consider how different poets tell their myths and stories, how genre affects the way a story is told, and how different versions of a particular story compare to each other.  In addition to close reading of ancient texts, the course will introduce you to the culture that produced these different works through images of the art and architecture of Greece and political/historical overviews.  Artistic representations of stories also told in texts we read will receive special attention in order to explore relationships between text and image as ways of telling stories.  

This course carries a Global Cultures flag and fulfills the Visual and Performing Arts requirement; it may also be counted as an elective.

Coursework will include midterm exams, in-class quizzes, regular posts to course discussion boards, and a final exam.

GK 507 • First-Year Greek II

33490 • Spring 2011
Meets MTWTHF 11:00AM-12:00PM WAG 10

For the first part of the semester, we will complete the grammar begun in Greek 506.  In the last part of the course we will read from Plato’s Ion.  When we read Plato, we will spend significant time reviewing the grammar and vocabulary learned in Greek 506 and the first part of Greek 507.  Prerequisite: GK 506 with a grade of at least C.

Course work will include:  class attendance and participation, three midterms, regular quizzes, and a final exam.

GK 311 • Intermediate Greek I

32390 • Fall 2010
Meets MWF 11:00AM-12:00PM WAG 112

This semester we will read and analyze selections from the speeches of
Lysias.  Lysias, an Attic writer of the late 5th and early 4th century,
provides a fascinating window on to contemporary Athenian life in the
speeches he wrote for others to deliver in Athenian law courts. The
course has two main aims: to solidify and improve your grasp of Greek
grammar, vocabulary, and syntax (via reading Lysias as well as
systematic grammar review); and to analyze Lysias' style to understand
the importance not simply of what is said but how it is said. There will
be discussion of cultural and historical issues as well as continuous
review of grammar and stylistics.

Regular attendance is required and daily preparation is essential.
Evaluation will be based on class participation, regular quizzes,
written work, three midterms, and a final.

Students earning a C or better will be ready to advance to GK 312
Intermediate Greek II.
This course can be counted as partial fulfillment of the foreign
language requirement, or to fulfill the General Culture requirement, or
as an elective.

Prerequisite:  Greek 507 or equivalent (i.e. first-year beginning Greek).

Texts:English-Greek Lexicon (intermediate), Oxford UP (ISBN

978-0-19-910206-8)
    Morwood,Oxford Grammar of Classical Greek (ISBN 978-1-931019-05-7)
    Scodel, Lysias I and III (ISBN 978-0929524191)

GK 390 • Archaic Poetry

32445 • Fall 2010
Meets W 3:00PM-6:00PM WAG 10


This course surveys Archaic Greek poetry in the genres of epic (Homer), didactic (Hesiod), hymn (Homeric Hymns), and both choral and monodic lyric (Pindar and Campbell selections). The course has two main goals. First, it offers a broad-ranging survey of the different genres of extant Greek poetry before the rise of Greek tragedy, which are not often studied together because they represent so many different genres. To provide focus within this large variety of poems, we will study the narrating "I" as it appears in these different genres. What are the similarities in the narrator's self-references across these genres and authors? What are the differences? What do the function(s) of these self-references seem to be in the poems? Course work includes class participation and discussion board postings, two short papers, regular in-class presentations, regular translation quizzes, and a final research paper.

C C 322 • Epic Tradition: Homer-Tennyson

32527 • Spring 2010
Meets TTH 2:00PM-3:30PM ECJ 1.204

Please click here for a pdf of the syllabus

LAT 323 • Jr Rdng: Vergil's Aeneid

32945 • Spring 2010
Meets TTH 11:00AM-12:30PM CBA 4.340

Syllabus available as pdf download

GK 324 • Jr Rdng: Sophocles

32850 • Fall 2009
Meets MWF 11:00AM-12:00PM WAG 112

GK 324 Advanced Greek:

Reading and analysis of classical authors such as Homer, Herodotus, Euripides, and Plato.

Prerequisites: Greek 312K or 312L (or 322) with a grade of at least C; or Greek 412 with a grade of at least A-, and consent of the undergraduate adviser.

GK 390 • Smnr: Homer

32905 • Fall 2009
Meets M 2:00PM-5:00PM WAG 10

The seminar will focus on two topics: pleasure and philia (aka friendship), each both in its own right and in relation to other issues, including virtues of character and thought. We’ll devote the first half of the term to examining the structure of Aristotle’s ethical theory, principally his eudaimonism and analysis of virtue. The rest of the seminar will examine a) his analysis of pleasure, b) how this analysis informs his evaluation of pleasure, c) his analysis of friendship, and d) how this analysis underwrites -- or fails to underwrite -- the special status of friendship, including its relation to pleasure.


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    Burdine Hall 536
    2505 University Avenue, A4900
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