CLASSICAL STUDIES 375/675
Professor Radcliffe G. Edmonds III
Office: Thomas 245
Office Phone: 526-5046
Office Hours: MWF 9-10
or by appointment
Feldman, Burton & Richardson, Robert, The Rise of Modern Mythology 1680-1860
Graf, Fritz, Greek Mythology
Ovid, Metamorphoses, trans. Melville
*Trzaskoma, Smith, & Brunet, Anthology of Classical Myth: Primary Sources in Translation
Brisson, Luc, How Philosophers Saved Myths
Brisson, Luc, Plato the Mythmaker
Calame, Claude, Myth and History
Edmunds, Approaches to Greek Myth (Second edition)
Gantz, Timothy, Early Greek Myth (2 vols.)
Lincoln, Bruce, Theorizing Myth
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 and undergraduate textbooks. 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 brief reaction for each of the secondary readings for the week. Such reactions should consist of a short (under 250 word) summary of the selection, as well as a longer (500-750 word) reaction essay, including points of agreement and disagreement and questions for further discussion. Readings in the Anthology of Trzaskoma etal. are marked with an *asterisk. All readings not in the required course books will be available through the Course Documents on Moodle.
There will be one long final paper for the course on one myth, selected and defined by the student, and its interpretations. In addition, there will be several short (5-8 pages) written assignments designed for the students to demonstrate their understanding of specific interpretive strategies covered in class. These projects will require out of class research in addition to the readings assigned for the class. Graduate students will be expected to make use of primary sources in the original languages and to cover a wider range of secondary sources.
Primary Source Translation:
A selection of the primary sources each week will be posted on Moodle in the original languages. Graduate students will have an additional session scheduled to work through these readings from the primary sources.
Class Participation 35%
Written Assignments 30%
Final Paper 35%
Week 1 Introduction to the Study of Mythology
Week 2 Mythology Case Study: Oedipus
Greek Reading: Sophocles OT 695-1072
Week 3 The Collectors - Mythographers and Mythology, Folklore and variants
Readings: (begin reading Ovid for next week)
Greek Reading: Palaephatus and Apollodorus - selections
Week 4 Ovid's Metamorphoses of Myths - Myth as plots for literature
Latin Reading: Ovid, selections
Variants Assignment due before noon, Friday, September 29.
Week 5 Myth and Allegory
Week 6 Myth as Primitive Science or History
Greek Reading: Diodorus Siculus, selections
Week 7 - fall break
Week 8 Myth as Primal Religion
Greek Reading: Porphyry, Cave of the Nymphs
Week 9 Myth and Ritual
Greek Reading: Homeric Hymn to Apollo (& commentary)
Week 10 Myth and Psychology
Greek Reading: Olympiodorus on Plato's Gorgias 44, 46
Interpreter Assignment due before noon, Friday, November 10.
Week 11 Myth and History
Week 12 Case Study - Pandora and Prometheus
Greek Reading: Hesiod, Works and Days 1-220
Week 13 Myth and Tradition
Week 14 Presentations of Final Myth Projects
complete draft of final project due before noon, Friday, December 8.
Week 15 Conclusions: myth and scandal, myth and interpretation, myth and ideology
Final Project due before the end of finals