CLASSICAL STUDIES 275
|Professor Radcliffe G. Edmonds III
Office: Thomas 245
Office Phone: 526-5046
Office Hours: T 1-2, F 1-3
or by appointment
Apollodorus, The Library (trans. Frazer)
Detienne, Marcel, The Creation of Mythology
Dowden, Ken, The Uses of Greek Mythology
Gantz, Timothy, Early Greek Myth (2 vols.)
Graf, Fritz, Greek Mythology
Hesiod, Theogony and Works & Days, trans. Lombardo
Nietzsche, Friedrich, Birth of Tragedy
Ovid, Metamorphoses, trans. Melville
Palaephatus, On Unbelievable Tales, trans. Stern
The myths of the Greeks have provoked outrage and fascination, interpretation and retelling, censorship and elaboration, beginning with the Greeks themselves. We will see how some of these stories have been read and understood, recounted and revised, in various cultures and eras, from ancient tellings to modern movies. We will also explore some of the interpretive theories by which these tales have been understood, from ancient allegory to modern structural and semiotic theories.
The student should gain a more profound understanding of the meaning of these myths to the Greeks themselves, of the cultural context in which they were formulated. At the same time, this course should provide the student with some familiarity with the range of interpretations and strategies of understanding that people of various cultures and times have applied to the Greek myths during the more than two millennia in which they have been preserved.
Each week's assignment will include both the primary ancient texts and some secondary interpretations. Each student should come prepared with two or three questions or ideas regarding the ancient texts for the day. In addition, one student will be assigned to write and present a one page reaction for each of the secondary readings for the week. Such reactions should consist, not of a summary of the selection, but rather of points of agreement and disagreement and of questions for further discussion.
The readings not in the required textbooks will be available on electronic reserves. Electronic reserves are accessible from the library's reserve site (http://trires.brynmawr.edu/coursepage.asp?cid=977).
There will be one long (10-12 pages) final paper for the course on one myth, selected and defined by the student, and its interpretations. In addition, there will be several short (4-6 pages) written assignments designed for the students to demonstrate their understanding of specific interpretive strategies covered in class. These projects may require some out of class research in addition to the readings assigned for the class.
Week 1 Introduction to the Study of Mythology
Week 2 Mythology Case Study: Oedipus I
Week 3 Mythology Case Study: Oedipus II
Week 4 The Collectors - Mythographers and Mythology
Week 5 Ovid's Metamorphoses of Myths
Variants Assignment due
Week 6 Modern Mythology - Enlightenment and Romanticism
Week 7 Myth and Ritual
Week 8 - spring break
Week 9 Myth and Psychology
Interpreter Assignment due
Week 10 Myth and Paradise Lost
Week 11 Myth and Philosophy: The Logos of Mythoi
Week 12 Myth and Society
Week 13 Myth and History
Week 14 Case Study: Theseus & Heracles
Week 15 Conclusions: myth and scandal, myth and interpretation, mythology
Final Project due