Your research paper in this course can be as focused or as expansive as
you desire. The topic is essentially up to you, but let me offer
TRUE CONFESSIONS—THE (AUTO)BIOGRAPHICAL
Guidelines for Research paper
In general, I think the most fruitful angle for any paper would be some
sort of comparison and contrast in any one of three areas:
Comparison and contrast of Plutarch and Suetonius with one another.
Comparison and contrast of Plutarch and Suetonius with themselves.
Comparison and contrast of Plutarch or Suetonius with a conventional historian.
The key is to find something to compare and contrast. Some examples:
S.'s Life of Julius Caesar versus P.'s (angle 1)
P.'s Julius Caesar versus his Marc Antony (angle 2)
S.'s or P.'s Julius Caesar versus Caesar himself (angle 3)
S.'s sources versus P.'s (angle 1)
P.'s sources from phase to phase (angle 2)
S.'s or P.'s sources versus those of Thucydides (angle 3)
The supernatural in S. and P. (angle 1)
The supernatural in S. (angle 2)
The supernatural in P. versus Herodotus. (angle 3)
And so on. Other subjects and combinations are conceivable.
You should aim to generalize about your topic, and then examine certain
facets of it in detail. So a paper on the supernatural in Suetonius
might have the following structure:
I) General examination of supernatural motifs in Suetonius
Such a paper requires a reading of primary sources both widely and deeply,
and the use of secondary sources as either general background or insight
into particular issues.
A) When they occur, where they occur
II) Detailed examination of certain supernatural episodes that are
in some way unique (anomalous, striking, and so on).
B) Select examples that illustrate your general principles, with
A) Episode 1, description and analysis
III) Discussion of how these anomalies serve S.'s literary program
B) Episode 2, description and analysis
C) Episode 3, etc.
Overall your paper should seek to introduce the reader to some aspect
of the biographical process, whether focused within one author, across
authors, or across genres of historiography.
The project has three phases:
For the overall requirements of the finished draft, consult the syllabus.
3 November. A one page summary of three possible topics. Devote
one paragraph to each, and a fourth to which topic you think would be best.
You need not take secondary literature into account at this time.
1 December. A rough draft or very detailed outline of the paper.
17 December. Final version (date changed from 10 December).
Still under construction, coming soon.
Knowing your paper topic will help me narrow the field.
If you have questions or comments, please contact