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Spring 2018 Undergraduate English Courses: Special Topics

358:244 Introduction to Myth

01  MW7  LIV  18534  IBIRONKE  TIL-209

Our focus in this course is to understand myth, and the mythopoeic imagination, especially the relationships between myth and literature, myth and media, and myth and
daily life—the myths we have inherited, that we make up about ourselves and about others. We will begin with an exploration of why myth has been reputed for holding the
key to understanding human nature and experience by screening Joseph Campbell’s documentary film: The Power of Myth. Campbell’s documentary along with a number of
short essays/chapters from classics will provide different approaches to the study of myth: the functionalist (Mauss, Malinowski), structuralist (de Saussure, Levi-Strauss)
historicist and formalist, among other frameworks both cultural and literary with which we will engage selected primary texts and films. These materials will aid our
interrogation of the work of myth as metaphor; the power relations engendered and fostered by myth, and also situate the impulse for the mythological in modern literature.

Assessment:
This course will be assessed for AHp through analysis of arts and/or literatures in themselves and in relation to specific histories, values, languages, and cultures.
The assigned texts and assignments will change every semester.

Required texts:
James Joyce’s Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man
The Epic of Gilgamesh (Norton Critical Editions)
Sundiata: An Epic of Old Mali
Roland Barthes’ Mythologies

Films:
The Last Supper, Directed by Tomás Gutiérrez Alea
Life of Pi, novel by Yann Martel, directed by Ang Lee
Yeelen (Light) by Souleymane Cissé, from Mali. (2003)
Lord of the Rings.

Book chapters/short essays:
Myth and Metaphor, Northrop Frye
Anatomy of Criticism, Northrop Frye,
Myth and Meaning Claude Levi-Strauss
"The Structural Study of Myth" Claude Levi-Strauss
The Signifying Monkey, Henry Louis Gates