Courses & Units

Desire and Disorder in the Erotic Text HTC339


Due to the circumstances around COVID-19, you will begin your semester 2 studies online in 2021. However, when Government guidelines change, on-campus studies will be reintroduced.



Taking 'erotic text' in a broad sense, this unit explores the many functions - but especially the malfunctions - of desire in ancient literature. We will read some of Ovid's Heroides, fictional verse-letters written by heroines of Greek myth to their unfaithful lovers; a selection of love poetry ranging from Sappho to Roman elegy, in which erotic desire is represented as physical distress, as madness and disease; and Longus' second-century novel, Daphnis and Chloe, an ironic and playful study of human maturation and sexuality. We will also look at Plato's influential writings on the philosophical uses of desire, and some responses of later writers.


Unit name Desire and Disorder in the Erotic Text
Unit code HTC339
Credit points 12.5
College/School College of Arts, Law and Education
School of Humanities
Discipline History and Classics
Coordinator Doctor Jonathan Wallis
Available as student elective? Yes
Level Advanced


This unit is currently unavailable.


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Unit census dates currently displaying for 2021 are indicative and subject to change. Finalised census dates for 2021 will be available from the 1st October 2020.

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Learning Outcomes

  • Describe and explain the key features of different types of ancient Greek and Latin texts concerning love and desire and situate them in their historical contexts.
  • Distinguish between primary and secondary sources of evidence for ancient life and thought, and explain how these sources are used in the study of ancient culture.
  • Critically evaluate a range of primary sources for ancient Greek and Roman love and desire (e.g. literary and philosophical texts).
  • Use primary and secondary sources to support an independent argument about the changes in ancient thinking about love, gender and sexuality.
Field of Education Commencing Student Contribution 1 Grandfathered Student Contribution 1 Approved Pathway Course Student Contribution 2 Domestic Full Fee
not applicable

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25 points at introductory level in any discipline in any faculty


AssessmentExamination - take home (40%)|Reflection (10%)|Assignment (15%)|Essay (35%)
TimetableView the lecture timetable | View the full unit timetable


Required Required readings will be listed in the unit outline prior to the start of classes.
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