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Metamorphoses Project

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CLA 2-216-2002

Eurydice, from a production of Monteverdi's Orfeo e Eurydice

The Metamorphoses Project is designed to show the continuing relevance of myth through time. This project will be a combination of individual essays and group presentations which will trace the transformations of specific mythic figures from antiquity through the present. Each group, comprised of three to four students each, will choose a mythic figure and each member will be responsible for writing a 5-7 page essay discussing this figure in a particular piece of literature, art, music, theater, or film created since the ancient world. Each group will workshop each other's papers. Finally, each group will then use the individual essays to create a class presentation on the transformation of their mythic figure from antiquity to the present. Details of the various components are as follows:

1. Each group will need to turn in proposal. The cover sheet should list the mythic figure, members of the group and each person's project (the specific text, film, painting, opera etc. each person is researching), and a request for any technical equipment needed for the group presentation (video/tv, cd player, computer & projector, etc). In addition, each person in the group should submit a paragraph describing why s/he chose the particular version. Be sure to include the artist's name, dates, and nationality, a copy of the work to be analyzed, and where you found this information (bibliographical reference or website). Proposals will be due on the second Wednesday.

2. Each person (and group) will need to take advantage of the library and the WWW to find information about the version of the myth that you are going to write and report on. After meeting with Michelle Holschuh Simmons and searching for relevant information about your version of the myth, you will submit a a list of secondary sources that you plan to consult on your topic on the third Wednesday. Please submit these secondary sources in MLA format.

A useful website, How to analyze a painting, might help those of you dealing with visual material.

3. Each person will turn in a 5-7 page essay discussing how their group's mythic figure is represented in a particular piece of literature, art, music, theater, or film. Questions to consider: How is this author, painter, director, etc. using or adapting ancient mythic traditions? Which version or details of the myth does it highlight? Does it differ from the ancient version? If so, how and why? What values does this retelling reveal? What attitudes does the artist reveal about gender, history, ethnicity, religion, etc.? How might this myth be relevant to the culture in which it was (re)told? In what ways has it been adapted to make it more relevant? (e.g. How do you take a violent, womanizing warrior like Hercules and make him appealing to a Disney audience? Why would Disney even want to create a film about Hercules? What relevance does he have to a 20th century audience?) Who is the target audience? Is their any sort of cultural capital to be gained by using such mythic figures? What parallels or contrasts are being drawn between the culture in which your piece is created and ancient Greece or Rome? First Draft of individual essays are due on the fourth Monday.

4. Group presentations: Each group will meet to share their projects with each other and work together to create a presentation for the class which shows how their mythic figure has transformed from antiquity to the present. Presentations should be well integrated and present a coherent argument based on the individual projects of each member. The mode of presentation/performance is an important element of this part of the project (i.e. I don't want a series of individual, unconnected reports. This is an opportunity to display your creativity and hone your collaboration skills). The final two days of the course will be reserved for presentations.

5. Each person will turn in a 1-2 page critique of their group's project including an evaluation of each member's efforts and contributions to the project (including a self evaluation). This critique will be considered when grades are calculated. Critiques are due on the last day of the course.

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