TuTh 3:40 – 5:00
304 Palamountain Hall

The Roman poet Ovid exerted a powerful influence on the English Renaissance. This team-taught course will assess the debt of early modern poets and playwrights to Ovid and consider how their poems and plays help us to reread Ovid’s works from new angles. We will focus on such topics as poetic form and its relationship to desire; gender fluidity, revenge, and spectacle across poetry and drama; poetic careers in imperial Rome and early modern England; and more. Our readings will include Ovid’s Amores, Ars amatoria, and Metamorphoses; Lyly’s Galatea; Shakespeare’s Titus Andronicus and A Midsummer Night’s Dream; and Jonson’s Poetaster. Students will write three essays of medium length and take a final that synthesizes the topics and themes of the course.

Counts toward the English Early Period Requirement.
Counts toward the Classics Literature Cluster.


Students in this course will

  • Become familiar with Ovid’s major phases, genres, and works.
  • Explore how Ovid was read, studied, and reinterpreted in the English Renaissance.
  • Read classical and early modern literature in relation to one another.
  • Read and analyze works of literature independently, both in class and in writing.
  • Use critical theory to inform interpretations of literary texts.
  • Contribute to class discussion through informed contributions and active listening.


Professor Andrew Bozio — English
317 Palamountain Hall
MW 4:00 – 5:00, and by appointment

Professor Dan Curley — Classics
212 Filene Hall
TuTh 9:30 – 10:30, and by appointment

NOTE: Both instructors will hold virtual office hours through the end of the semester. Please check your Skidmore email for details.


  • Ovid, The Erotic Poems (Amores / Ars amatoria), tr. Green (ISBN 9780140443608)
  • Ovid, Metamorphoses, tr. Martin (ISBN 9780393925340)
  • John Lyly, Galatea, ed. Leah Scragg (ISBN 9780719088056)
  • Ben Jonson, Poetaster, ed. Tom Cain (ISBN 9780719016370)

Some readings not available in the above textbooks can be found in Scribner Library’s Online Course Reserves (a.k.a. Ares). Others will be made available via email.


  • 20 % 25 % . . . . . . . . . . Attendance & Participation
  • 60 % 75 % . . . . . . . . . . Essays (20 % / 25 % / 30 %)
  • 20% . . . . . . . . . . Final Examination


Over the course of the semester, you will write three essays of 1500 to 2000 words in length. A detailed prompt, as well as a grading rubric, will be circulated well in advance of each due date.


At the end of the semester, you will take a final exam in which you will both synthesize the knowledge and draw upon the skills acquired in this course.



Taking notes while you are preparing for class is highly recommended, since notations help you not only to recall the material, but also to develop your thoughts about it. Similarly, taking notes during class both signals engaged participation and directly ensures your development as a thinker and writer.

All readings and assignments are listed on the Readings page.


Given that we are now holding class online, and that technological availability will likely fluctuate from day to day, the question of attendance is now more fraught than it originally was. We expect that you will join us for our online discussion sessions, to be held at our regular class time, as your technology and time zones permit.

If you cannot join us, please email both instructors to excuse your absence. You then will be expected to watch the archived recording of our discussion in your own time. Repeated absences may require additional work to maintain good standing in the class. Repeated lateness in joining the discussion will also be construed as absence, so please join the class on time and stay for the duration (unless the instructors sanction a break).

You are allowed two absences with no questions asked. For each subsequent absence, your final grade will drop one-third of a letter grade. Excessive absences may result in failure of the course. Repeated lateness will also be construed as absence, such that being late or leaving class three times is the same as being absent once, so please come to class on time and stay for the duration.


Because this course is a collaborative effort, participation will be essential to your success. Participation includes both active listening as well as thoughtful contributions to class discussion that show preparation for class, willingness to engage your peers in conversation, and respectfulness.

More specifically, exemplary participation might involve

  • Asking a specific question or making a specific comment about the reading.
  • Building upon something that another person has already said.
  • Making a specific comment about what you find useful or interesting about another person’s point.
  • Asking a question or making a comment that encourages another person to elaborate upon their point.
  • Making a comment that connects two points or two strands of our conversation.
  • Disagreeing with what someone has said in a respectful and constructive manner.

Alternatively, poor participation might involve

  • Listening inattentively.
  • Repeating a point that someone else has made without adding anything new.
  • Interrupting another person or speaking while someone else is talking.
  • Making an off-topic comment.
  • Using inappropriate language or speaking in a disrespectful or combative manner.

Even though we plan to hold discussions online, the above guidelines still apply. In fact, they are arguably more important than ever.

Laptops, Tablets & Phones

Given the circumstances of the COVID-19 outbreak, access laptops and other devices will now be essential for completing the course.

Whenever possible, we will expect you to join us online at the assigned time and date. If for some reason you cannot join us, we will expect you to review the recorded class meeting in your own time after the fact.

If technological access will be difficult for you, please let your instructors know so that we can arrange a workaround.

Unless required as an accommodation (such as for a disability), laptops and tablets should not be used during class. Likewise, phones must be silenced and stored away. If using a phone during class, you might be asked to leave the session and be counted absent.

If a laptop or other device is determined to be essential (not just desirable) for your learning, you will be asked to fill out and sign an agreement form that defines appropriate in-class use.

Academic Integrity

Plagiarism is the representation of another person’s words or ideas as your own. It is not only counter to the ethics of the academic culture in which you participate, but it is also detrimental to your progress in this course, insofar as it does nothing to develop your skills as a thinker and a writer. You must give proper credit, according to your chosen citation guidelines, to all words or ideas that are not your own. In cases of a serious violation of academic integrity, you will fail the assignment. For more information, please review the Honor Code on the Office of Academic Advising’s website.

Office Hours & Email

The instructors will hold virtual office hours during the times indicated above (under “Instructors“). In the event that another class or work makes it impossible for you to make those hours, we can try to find another time to meet online.

We will also respond to questions over email, but please anticipate a delay in receiving our responses. As has been the practice, please include both instructors in the address lines of your emails, even when asking about something that might seem pertinent only to one of us.

The instructors are happy to meet during their respective office hours to discuss your work. In the event that another class or work makes it impossible for you to make those hours, we can try to find another time to meet.

We will respond to short questions over email, but please come to office hours or plan to meet with one of us to discuss your papers or larger issues. Because this is a team-taught course, please include both instructors in the address lines of your emails, even when asking about something that might seem pertinent only to one of us.

Submitting & Formatting Work

When submitting your work, email it as an MS Word document to both instructors. Late submissions will lose one-third of a letter grade each day until they are received. After one week of lateness, work will no longer be accepted.

All written work must be presented professionally: typed in a standard 12-point font, double-spaced and with margins of 1.25 inches. Be sure to include your last name and the page number in the footer.

For deadlines and additional guidance on essays, please visit the Essays page.


Any student who anticipates facing obstacles to their success in this course should seek assistance from the appropriate offices on campus and, where appropriate, from the instructors. If you are a student with a disability and believe you will need academic accommodation, you need to formally request accommodation from Meg Hegener, Coordinator of Disability and Accessibility Services. You will also need to provide documentation which verifies the existence of a disability and supports your request.

Sexual & Gender-based Misconduct

Any student who experiences sexual or gender-based misconduct should know that there are several resources on campus for ensuring their safety and security. Faculty and staff members are mandatory reporters, meaning that we are obligated to report instances of sexual or gender-based misconduct to the Title IX Coordinator, who will assist the student in finding all possible resources for support both on and off campus. In those instances, identities and details will be shared only with those who need to know to support the student and to address the situation through the college’s processes. If you prefer a confidential source, the staff of Skidmore’s Counseling Center, Health Services, and Victim Advocates are available (key contact information here). 

Racism & Discrimination

Any student who experiences racism or another form of discrimination and bias should contact Cerri Banks, Dean of Students and Vice President for Student Affairs, for support or file a bias incident report. Furthermore, any student who has difficulty meeting their basic needs — including but not limited to affording groceries or finding safe and secure housing — should also contact Dean Banks for support. Where appropriate, and to the extent that you feel comfortable doing so, please also inform your instructors of the situation respond accordingly or offer assistance.

Content Advisory

The material of earlier periods is often violent and/or sexually explicit. Please be prepared for words, images, and discussions that might make you or your peers uncomfortable. If you have concerns about our readings, viewings, or anything else, please bring them to the attention of your instructors.