First Year Seminar - Tragic Love Stories: Ancient and Modern

Michael C Sloan


This course is a First Year Seminar designed to expose students to foundational narratives of ancient and modern tragic love stories through a variety of media, but with an emphasis on literature. This course is focused around four relationships whose earliest expressions are Greco-Roman: Pyramus and Thisbe, Orpheus and Eurydice, Dido and Aeneas, and Antony and Cleopatra.  Numerous productions, versions, and variations of these relationships within different types of media in the medieval and early modern eras have further promoted these stories.  Each relationship represents its own section in the course, which is unified by the theme of tragic love stories.  The course is an interdisciplinary introduction to humanities, fine arts, and material culture.  A residual benefit is the inherent overview of history from the Greco-Roman ages to the Italian Renaissance.  New modes, genres, and media constantly offered change and stimulation, along with a desired breadth.  Yet, by limiting our investigations to four primary relationships, the students’ familiarity with recurring characters and plots allowed for depth in their investigations of the similarities and differences of the same stories from varying sources.  The stories were quickly familiar, which allowed insightful questions, illuminating discussion, and deep exploration as they were exposed to foundational human achievements in literature, art and culture spanning the intellectually formative millennia of “Western” history.


Survey Course; First Year Seminar; Classics; Reception

Full Text:



  • There are currently no refbacks.


ISSN 2163-3177

Register as a reviewer, author, or reader