Sunday, September 19, 2010

Grad School: The Reading List

One of the things that most classics grad programs (e.g. Berkeley, U of Toronto) seem to require from their applicants is a reading list of texts read in the original language. Presumably this is because classes are not standardized at different schools, and this replaces what might once have been a list of classes. I have read quite a few texts in their original language-- especially Greek texts. Some of these texts, given when I read them, I read or remember better than others. However, Berkeley's list was a little different. It gave examples of what it considered to be second and third year classes, and expected two more semesters on top of that. This was fine in principle, but the texts they provided as examples were kind of scary.
  • Homer (3-4 books)  I haven't read Homer since highschool, and I only read Book I of the Iliad.
  • Plato (1 short dialogue) I read the Phaedrus which is much harder than most of the short dialogues (although I have to admit, I had a lot of trouble with it) plus selections of a number of other Plato's texts.
  • A complete Greek Drama I read the Bacchae back my freshman year, which was awesome, but a long time ago and I think it would be a lot easier to go back over it now. I also read about 90% of the Agamemnon.
  • Aeneid (3-4 books) I read Book 8, and excerps from books 10 and 12 in my second year Latin class, but still, obviously not enough.
  • Republican Prose (40-50 pages) Pro Caelio and selections from Caesar's Civil Wars, which I would think add up to about 40 or so pages.
  • Horace (30 poems) none until yesterday-- and I read I.1, 5, 9.
My lovely friend Propertius II and I went over my readings of I.1 and 5 today, during which I think I enjoyed the poetry much better than the first time that I read it. It is so nice to have another classicist who is willing to patiently work and discuss with me (as well as provide, at least in theory, some mutual benefit because he has not read much Horace either).

However much I am enjoying my grad school prep, at least at the moment, I am already behind. The timeline that Princeton Review puts out really scared me. I am so behind.

At an alumni dinner tonight I met a lovely classics grad who is getting his PhD working on Homer. I only hope that I can get into grad school and move things forward in the direction that he did. I hope also that I can live up to my own expectations bot in getting into and doing well in graduate school.

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