The Humanities Sequence


Students visiting Delphi Humanistic Studies Class Photo 2014

Interdisciplinary at the individual
course level

A Daily Princetonian column by first-year HUM student, Erica Choi, April 12, 2015
Humanistic Studies Class Photo 2014


Humanistic Studies 216-219 is an intensive year-long introduction to the landmark achievements of the Western intellectual tradition. This team-taught, double-credit, supercourse examines Western history, philosophy, literature, religion, and art from antiquity to the 20th century.

Lectures and discussions investigate a wide range of issues and stimulate plural perspectives. They are enhanced by trips to museums, plays, concerts and art galleries.

The faculty represents a wide variety of humanities departments, ranging across literature, history, religion, music, philosophy, and the arts. This intellectually stimulating and highly demanding sequence fulfills four distribution requirements (two courses in literature and the arts; one in historical analysis; one in epistemology and cognition).

Admitted freshmen who wish to reserve a space in the course for fall term 2015 may do so in April and May before matriculating. To guarantee a space in the course, please email the HUM Program Manager, Lin DeTitta, at, by May 31, 2015.  Spaces will be assigned first-come, first-served. Additional spaces may be available in the fall, but course enrollment is capped at 60. Rising sophomores are welcome to enroll in the course.  Interested sophomores are welcome to meet with Dr. Crown ( about their individual program of study. 

Students in the sequence enroll in both HUM 216 and HUM 217, which cover classical antiquity to the middle ages. In the spring, students may continue on to HUM 218 and HUM 219, which cover the Renaissance through the modern period. The course comprises three 50-minute lectures and two 80-minute seminars a week.




HUM 216-217 (Fall 2014)
Approaches to Western Culture from Antiquity to the Middle Ages

Our Faculty:
Daniel Heller-Roazen (Comparative Literature)
Susanna Berger (Art History and Society of Fellows)
Denis Feeney (Classics)
Melissa Lane (Politics)
Benjamin Morison (Philosophy)
Jonny Thakkar (Philosophy and Society of Fellows)

Homer, Iliad 
Homer, Odyssey 
Herodotus, Histories 
Aeschylus, Oresteia 
The Presocratics 
Sophocles (Guest Lecture: Andrew Ford)
Euripides and Aristophanes  
Thucydides, Peloponnesian War 
Plato, Symposium 
Greek Art  
Plato, Republic I 
Plato, Republic II 
Aristotle, Practical Philosophy 
Aristotle, Theoretical Philosophy  
Plautus, Amphitryo and Pseudolus 
Roman Art 
Lucretius, On the Nature of the Universe 
Virgil, Aeneid 
Livy, History of Rome 
Ovid, Metamorphoses  
Tacitus, Annals 
Hebrew Bible I 
Hebrew Bible II 
The New Testament 
Ancient & Medieval Music 
Augustine, Confessions 
Boethius, Consolation of Philosophy 
Charlemagne and the Carolingian Empire (Guest Lecture: Helmut Reimitz)
Early Christian and Carolingian Art 
Medieval Thought and God’s Existence 
Chrétien de Troyes, Perceval 
Romanesque and Gothic Art and Architecture 
Medieval Thought and the Question of the Universals 
Dante’s Commedia
Dante’s Commedia II (Guest Lecture: P. Adams Sitney)


HUM 218-219 (Spring 2015)
Approaches to Western Culture from the Renaissance to the Modern Period

Our Faculty:
Scott Burnham (Music)
Daniel Cloud (Philosophy)
Anthony Grafton (History)
Mira Siegelberg (History and Society of Fellows)
Michael Wachtel (Slavic and Comparative Literature)

Guest lecturers will include art historians Susanna Berger and Anne McCauley.

Lectures will span the 14th to 19th centuries, provisionally including:

Petrarch, The Secretum
Boccaccio, Decameron
Alberti, The Art of Painting, and Renaissance Art 
Renaissance Music
Machiavelli, The Prince
Erasmus, The Praise of Folly
Castiglione, The Book of the Courtier
Rabelais, Gargantua and Pantagruel
Luther, Three Treatises
Montaigne, Selected Essays
Cervantes, Don Quixote
Shakespeare, The Tempest
Hobbes, Leviathan
Descartes, Meditations on First Philosophy
Milton, Paradise Lost
Spinoza, Theologico-Political Treatise
Racine, Phédre
Leibniz, Monadology
Baroque Art
Voltaire, Candide
Baroque Music
Hume, Dialogues concerning Natural Religion
Rousseau, Discourse on Inequality
Kant, Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals
Goethe, Faust, Part 1
Classical Music
Hegel, Introduction to the Philosophy of History
Schopenhauer, World as Will and Idea
Romantic Music
Pushkin, Bronze Horseman, Mozart and Salieri, The Shot, The Moor of Peter the Great
Marx, Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts
Mill, On Liberty
Tolstoy, Master and Man, Father Sergius, After the Ball
French Impressionist Art
Nietzsche, The Birth of Tragedy
Virginia Woolf, To the Lighthouse

The class will also travel to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and to the Metropolitan Opera for a performance of Verdi’s Don Carlo.         


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