General information

Course type AMUPIE
Module title Classical Tradition in European Literature
Language English
Module lecturer Piotr Urbański
Lecturer's email
Lecturer position professor
Faculty Faculty of Polish and Classical Philology
Semester 2024/2025 (winter)
Duration 30
USOS code 03-AP-CTEL


Module aim (aims)

The aim of the course is to provide a structured knowledge of the transformations of the classical tradition in European literature chronologically, from the Middle Ages to the 20th century, with particular emphasis on the Renaissance and the Baroque. The classes focus on the main phenomena and masterpieces, characteristic and representative.
Upon completion the student will:
Know the mechanisms of transmission of the most important ancient texts
Knows and understands the most important ways in which classical literature was received in each epoch
Be able to assign currents, epochs, authors and their works
Be able to characterise selected masterpieces of European literature due to the presence of antique motifs and motifs as well as references to classical texts.

Pre-requisites in terms of knowledge, skills and social competences (where relevant)

General knowledge of European literature.


The transition from antiquity to the Middle Ages. The three pre-Renaissance. Transmission of classical texts
Case study: Boethius
Educational institutions as centres of classical tradition
Case study: Dante
The Renaissance in relation to the Pre-Renaissance
Case study: Boccaccio and Petrarch (problem of bilingualism)
Translation, imitation, emulation, parody in Renaissance and Baroque culture. Horatianism sv. pindarism
How to talk about oneself using antiquity? Case study: Montaigne
Case study: Shakespeare and the reception of antiquity
Renaissance and Baroque discussions around tragedy
Case study: Corneille and Racine
La querelle des Anciens et des Modernes
Christians in search of the epic. Case study: Jerusalem Liberated and its Polish reception
Neo-Hellenism. Case study: Goethe
The twentieth century and modernity: twilight or triumph of the classical tradition?

Reading list

G. Highet, Classical Tradition: Greek and Roman Influences on Western Literature. Oxford (various editions).

A Companion to the Classical Tradition. Ed. C.W. Callendorf. London 2010.

E.R. Curtius. European Literature and the Latin Middle Ages. Princeton 1990.

E. Auerbach, Mimesis: Representation of Reality in European Literature. Princeton 2003.