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CC 220 : Papers
Introduction Requirements Guidelines Schedule

During the semester students will write 3 brief papers, each a description and analysis of a post-classical work indebted to the classical tradition. The emphasis is on brief: each paper will be at least 900 words in length.

Because the exams will be focused on mastering the material of classical myth, the papers will afford students opportunities to focus on the wealth of mythological material produced in the wake of antiquity.

Furthermore, the papers will allow students to engage in humanities-based expository writing at regular intervals, and to hone their skills of description and analysis.

Your overall paper grade will be based on

  • Paper 1 OR 2, whichever earns the better grade; and
  • Paper 3

NOTE: Failure to submit Paper 2 will result in a zero in your Paper 1/2 column, regardless of how good Paper 1 was. Likewise, a patently underwhelming effort on Paper 2 will result in the average of Papers 1 and 2 being placed in your Paper 1/2 column.


NOTE: Work that deviates from these requirements without prior approval from Prof. Curley might not be accepted.

Papers must

  • have a ratio of (roughly) 30% description to 70% analysis;
  • be at least 900 words in length;
  • properly cite primary and secondary sources;
  • be typed and double-spaced;
  • use a standard 12-point font (such as Times New Roman);
  • have numbered pages (except for page 1) and 1.25-inch margins;
  • be in PDF format (no MS Word or other kinds of documents);
  • have your name on page 1;
  • provide a link to the work in question; and
  • be emailed to Prof. Curley by or before the deadline.

Choosing a work

"Work" includes written texts, like a poem, book, or play; the term also includes musical works, songs, television shows, films, sculptures, paintings, and so forth.

Regardless of medium or genre, the work must be post-classical: that is, it must have been created in an era beyond the ancient Greek or Roman periods (which are commonly considered classical antiquity).

If you need help choosing a work to write about, The Oxford Guide to Classical Mythology in the Arts (on reserve) is an excellent place to start. Important works of literature, music, or the arts are treated here, though not cinema or television. See also MLS chapters 27 and 28.

Whatever you do, choose a work that can be treated in 900-plus words. If you must, say, choose a book or an entire film, you will do well to focus on an exemplary passage or scene that represents the work as a whole.

Note that the third paper will be on Charles Mee's Big Love, an adaptation of Aeschylus' Suppliants and the Theater Department's main-stage production this fall. Students will receive complimentary tickets for the 11.29, 11.30, or 12.01 show.

Description / analysis

Each paper will be a combination of description and analysis: description of what the work is, analysis of its larger significance. Of these two modes, analysis is by far more important, though it must proceed from cogent description. Hence the required ratio of 30/70.

In describing the work, make your reader aware of the following:

  • the title and the year(s);
  • the author(s) or artists(s);
  • the medium/media and genre(s);
  • the mythological story and/or characters depicted; and
  • any other facts relevant to the work's production.

In your subsequent analysis, contextualize the work by discussing how and why it deploys classical myth. Questions to consider:

  • What changes were made to the original myth? How do you account for these changes? What has remained the same?

  • How would you situate the work within its own times? Were the author(s) or artist(s) part of a movement? What social or political issues were they addressing?

  • What impact has the work had? Should it be considered a variation on established tradition? Or has it created its own tradition for others to follow?

You need not answer all of these questions in your paper, but you should reflect on them as you proceed. Some answers might require additional research on your part.


Some works might necessitate additional research. Be advised that Wikipedia or other non-academic web resources are not acceptable. You have an entire on-campus library at your disposal, not to mention a staff of friendly librarians ready and willing to assist you. See our Resources page for some useful links, both on- and off-campus

If your paper has benefited from outside research, be sure to cite your sources accordingly, both in the main body of your text, and at the end in a separate "Works Consulted" section. Consult The Skidmore Guide to Writing for pointers on citations.


Papers are due via email on Saturday evenings by 11:00 p.m. Attach your paper to your email, and make sure it follows both the general format requirements (above) as well as any additional requirements (below).

Paper 1
September 23 (11:00 p.m. via email)

Your choice of a post-classical work to describe and analyze.

Paper 2
October 14 (11:00 p.m. via email)

Your choice of a post-classical work to describe and analyze.

Paper 3
December 2 (11:00 p.m. via email)

Describe and analyze Charles Mee's Big Love.

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