CLA 1-216-97 College Hall 013 Cornell College
Instructor: John Gruber-Miller, 312 College Hall; phone:
x4326; email: grubermiller
Class meetings: M-F 9-11:15 a.m.; three afternoons each week,
usually M T W 1-3 p.m.
Office Hours: M W F 11:15-12 noon and always by appointment.
| Argos Metamorphoses
Project: | Template
1 | Template
Robert Fagles, trans. Homer. The Iliad. Penguin, 1990.
Stephanie, Dalley, trans. Myths from Mesopotamia. Creation, The
Flood, Gilgamesh, and Others. Oxford, 1989.
Stanley Lombardo, trans. Hesiod. Works and Days and Theogony.
David Grene and Richmond Lattimore, eds. Euripides II (The Cyclops,
Heracles, Iphigenia in Tauris, Helen). Chicago, 1952.
A.D. Melville, trans. Ovid. Metamorphoses. Oxford, 1986.
Susan Shelmerdine, trans. Homeric Hymns. Focus, 1995.
Introduction to the some of the most famous and most important myths, legends,
and folktales of the ancient world.
Introduction to the literature of ancient Greece and Rome.
Understanding of how to read various types of literature and how to interpret
myths, legends, and folktales.
Understanding of the relationship between ancient and modern myth, and
why myths continue to speak to us today.
Opportunity to explore important human questions about divinity and humanity,
life and death, female and male, rational and irrational, freedom and necessity,
Opportunity to improve both your verbal and written communication skills.
Ability to gather, use, and evaluate materials both from the library and
the World Wide Web.
Ability to create and publish a project on the WWW using basic HTML code.
A daily journal assignment will be graded on completeness (one entry
per class day) and on the degree to which you actively engage the
material in your personal reflections. This journal is for you to ask questions
and make comments about the course: to explore ideas generated by the readings,
make connections with your own life, and to reflect on your progress doing
research in the library and the WWW. Each entry should be written before
we discuss a text in class. This will not only help you grapple with the
text on your own terms, but it will help prepare you to participate actively
Class discussion: I hope to foster an atmosphere in which students
are free to speak their minds. We all (myself included) bring different
backgrounds, preparation, theoretical perspectives, and values to this
course. We all will learn from many sources: our common readings, each
other, our discussions, and our research. It is, therefore, crucial to
the success of the course that everyone show respect and courtesy to everyone
else in the class, and a willingness to help each other learn and approach
this material from new perspectives.
Informal writing assignments of various types based on class
readings (approximately one for each section of the course). These essays
are meant to be a chance to examine your own views, values and biases within
the light of various readings. These topics will be announced in advance.
Always make sure you keep a copy of your papers until after the course
is over. I will not be responsible for losing the only copy of your paper.
Metamorphoses Project on the transformation
of myth through time. In order to understand mythology in antiquity and
its enduring relevance, groups of four students each will research one
divinity or hero. More detailed instructions will be handed out later,
but basically the project will involve the following steps:
Final Exam. Study
research (both in the library and on the WWW) and analysis of the various
Greek myths concerning a particular divinity or hero;
research (both in the library and on the WWW) and analysis of the various
later transformations of myth concerning the same figure;
exploration (both in the library and on the WWW) of the intersection between
cult and mythology for the same figure, or discovery of a parallel figure
in another society's mythology;
creative project by the group showing their response to the divinity or
hero they have researched. It may take the form of artwork, drama, music,
story, video, etc. Ideally, it should engage one's mind, heart, and spirit.
40% class participation, daily journal, and informal written assignments
40% web project on a divinity or hero
20% final exam
Schedule of Topics and Readings
Section I: The Experience of a Hero:
Day 1: First definitions of "myth," "legend" and
Iliad, Bk 1: The wrath of a hero
Background to Homer's Iliad, by Prof. John Porter.
Day 2: Iliad, Bks 2 and 3: Definition of
a hero: Male and Female
Day 3: Iliad, Bks 6, 9, 11: Friends,
Excellence: How does Homer define it for men and women?
Who in particular exemplifies excellence in Homer, both male and female?
Why? How do you respond to Homer's definition? Do you agree
or disagree? How would you define excellence in your own life?
Can you think of anyone today who exemplifies your definition of excellence?
Student Essay 1 | Sample
Student Essay 2
Informal Writing Assignment #1 DUE:
Day 4: Iliad, Bks 14, 16, and 18: On
the battlefield--war, love, injury, death
Day 5: Iliad, Bks 22-24: Rage and Compassion
Metamorphoses Project, Part 1A, due: Greek versions of the myth
Day 6: Gilgamesh, Tablets 1-6: Hero and
Guide for Gilgamesh
Metamorphoses Project, Part 1B, due: analysis of Greek versions of
Day 7: Gilgamesh, Tablets 7-12: Quest
Death and Dying: All human beings experience deep feelings
(e.g., denial, anger, resignation, etc.) when a loved one dies. The
challenge is how do human beings cope with these emotions. How does
Achilles cope with death of Patroclus and his own mortality? How
does it compare with how the Trojans deal with the death of Hector?
How does Gilgamesh deal with Enkidu's death and his own mortality?
Are there parallels between the Homeric and Mesopotamian ways of dealing
with the death of a loved one? Have you experienced the loss of someone
dear to you? How did that experience compare with what we have read
in the Iliad or Gilgamesh? Does the experience of Achilles,
the Trojans, and/or Gilgamesh--their questions, feelings, rituals--offer
any answers for us today? Sample
Informal Writing Assignment #2 DUE
Section II: Creation
Day 8: Hesiod's Theogony: Genealogy
and Cosmogony. Study
Guide for Theogony
Day 9: Enuma Elish: the Contest for Creation
Genesis 1-11: How many creation stories? Study
Guide for Creation
Day 10: Ovid, Metamorphoses, Bk 1: A rationalized
version of creation?
Metamorphoses Project, Part 2A, due: later versions of the myth
Day 11: Homeric Hymn to Demeter: Demeter and
the Eleusinian Mysteries. Study
Guide for Demeter
Metamorphoses Project, Part 2B, due: analysis of later versions of
Day 12: Homeric Hymn to Apollo: Apollo's oracle
at Delphi. Study
Guide for Apollo
Creation and Knowledge: What makes a creation myth a creation
myth? One way is to say that creation myths answer key questions
that we as human beings need to understand their place in the cosmos.
What are the questions answered by Theogony, Enuma Elish, Genesis, and
Metamorphoses? Are these answered in the Hymn to Demeter or the
Hymn to Apollo. Choose either the Hymn to Demeter or to Apollo.
Can it be considered a creation story? What elements are present
in the hymn that are also present in the other creation myths we have read?
What questions would you want answered in a creation myth? How would
you want them answered?
Informal Writing Assignment #3 DUE
Section III: Metamorphoses of Myth
Day 13: Euripides' Helen: Phanton, femme-fatale,
or faithful wife?
Day 14: Euripides' Heracles: Divine or human
Day 15: Ovid, Metamorphoses, Bks 8-9: Helen,
Metamorphoses Project, Part 3, due: cultic connection or parallel in
Day 16: Ovid, Metamorphoses, Bks 5-6 and 12: Ovid's
transformation of Demeter, Athena, and the Trojan War
Day 17: Creative Projects due;
Metamorphoses Project completed
Day 18: Final Exam. Study
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Last updated 22 September 97