English 3333. 001. 2158: literature and mythology: classical mythology in literature and art

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Fall 2015 Office: MB 3256

Dr. Sophia Andres Office hours: T 2:00-3:00 W 1:00-4:00

TR 2:00-3:00

Tel. 552-2293

Email: andres_s@utpb.edu


(TTH 12:30-1:45)

(Prerequisites: English 1301 and 1302)

The primary goal of this course is to introduce students to the richness, excitement, and significance of classical (Greek and Roman) mythology. But the course moves beyond a simple introduction to an understanding of literature, in terms of its mythological allusions, and to various interpretations of mythological figures in the arts: painting, sculpture and the opera.
We will begin by discussing the primary objectives that myths, according to Joseph Campbell, frequently serve: (1) the processes of the universe; (2) the origin of customs or social rituals in terms of group behavior; and (3) the meaning of significant individual behavior. The approach to this course will often be interdisciplinary, including videos of myths and tragedies, visual representations of classical-subject paintings and operas.
Aeschylus, Prometheus Bound and Other Plays (Penguin, 1961)

Paulo Coelho The Alchemist (Harper Collins, 1998)

Euripides, Ten Plays (Bantam, 1960)

Homer, The Odyssey (Farrar & Strauss, 1998)

Sophocles, The Complete Plays (Bantam, 1967)

Ovid, Metamorphoses (Oxford, 1998)

Thomas Hardy, Jude the Obscure (Oxford, 1998)
Recommended: Eric Flaum, The Encyclopedia of Mythology (Courage Books, 1993)

The Oxford Companion to Classical Literature (Oxford UP, 1997)


  • Students will demonstrate knowledge of classical (Greek, Roman) mythology.

  • Students will analyze mythological allusions in literature.

  • Students will be able to interpret classical myths using various theoretical perspectives

  • Students will comprehend the ideological forces that shape mythological constructs.

  • Students will evaluate the impact of classical mythology on gender constructs.

  • Students will identify classical myths and their significance in psychology, literature, art and popular culture.


  • To have students demonstrate knowledge of the practices of oral, visual and written literary.

  • To have students demonstrate their knowledge of the range and influence of print and nonprint media and technology in contemporary culture.

You will have to write a few short assignments (pass/fail) and 1 paper (10 pages long), due at the end of the semester. Including several versions of a myth, this paper will be primarily your own approach to one of the works we have studied. I will give you various topics for your essay. If you would rather choose your own topic, please come and see me and discuss it with me in advance. The grade of your paper will depend on (1) whether you follow the assignment; (2) whether you demonstrate the thesis of your paper persuasively; (3) whether you demonstrate your understanding of the myths and their connection to the literary work you have chosen. Late papers will be graded a lower grade. Do not email your papers. I will let you know how to submit them. The grading criteria for your papers are described on the last page of this syllabus.


Quite frequently we will start the class with a reading quiz on the work assigned for that day. If you arrive late, you may not take the quiz. On the last day of our discussion of a topic or a work, there will be a test. These tests are primarily based on class discussions, but they also include questions which ask you to make connections between subjects we have discussed. Some of the tests will include 10 questions, each answer being worth 10 points. The maximum score then will be 100 (90-100=A, 89-80=B, etc.). Other tests, on the other hand, will contain 5 questions, in this case the maximum score being 50. You will also take one midterm and a final (10 questions each).


This course is designed to promote your active participation and to facilitate the exchange and enjoyment of various historical and critical perspectives that will broaden your knowledge of mythology and will illuminate the works we study. For this purpose, each student will be responsible for one power point presentation (10 minutes) based on the work assigned. You may choose your topic from operas of mythological stories, painterly representations or literary interpretations of myths or literary criticism on myths. Your presentation should include some visual aids. Do not xerox the information; you must follow your outline or notes for your presentation. If you are not in class on the day your presentation is due, you will not receive any credit. Your presentation will be graded like a test (100 points maximum score), but will count as part of your participation grade. If you do not know how to put together a power point presentation, please let me know and we will make arrangements for you to learn.

Your attendance is mandatory and very important for the successful completion of the course, since the lectures and discussions are related to the tests, midterm, final, and provide you with ideas for your final paper. Note that your participation/attendance is part of your grade. Perfect attendance will be rewarded with a bonus at the end of the semester. Students who have to miss class because of university activities should submit a note from the instructor responsible for the activity. Only students with an excused absence will be allowed to make up tests. If you have any difficulties with the class or any questions about the assignments, please do not hesitate to come and see me

during my office hours.

Students with disabilities are responsible for registering with the office of Student Disabilities Services in order to receive special accommodations and services. Please notify me during the first week of classes if a reasonable accommodation for a disability is needed for this course. A letter from the UTPB/ADA office must accompany this request. The ADA office is located in the PASS office. Telephone: (432) 552-2630.
As a courtesy to everyone in the course, please turn off your cell phone before entering the classroom.
“Scholastic dishonesty includes but is not limited to cheating, plagiarism, collusion, the submission for credit of any work or materials that are attributable in whole or in part to another person, any act designed to give unfair advantage to a student or the attempt to commit such acts.” Any student work which is the product of academic dishonesty will earn the grade F. For further information, see the Student Guide.


Classroom behavior should not interfere with the instructor’s ability to conduct the class or the ability of other students to learn from the instructional program (Code of Student Life). Unacceptable or disruptive behavior will not be tolerated. Students engaging in unacceptable behavior may be instructed to leave the classroom. Inappropriate behavior may result in disciplinary action or referral to the University’s Behavioral Intervention Team. This prohibition applies to all instructional forums, including electronic, classroom, labs, discussion groups, field trips, etc.

Reading Quizzes 5%

Tests 25%

Midterm 20%

Final 20%

Written assignments/ Paper 20%

Class discussion, reports 10%

Aug 27 Introduction

Classical Greece, the Olympian Gods, Zeus

Ovid, Book I
Sept 1 Ovid, Book II, Phaeton, Apollo

Ovid, Book III, Narcissus, Artemis

8 Ovid, Book IV, Medusa, Poseidon

Ovid, Book V, Proserpine, Demeter

15 Ovid, Book VI, Arachne, Philomela, Athena, Aphrodite

Ovid, Book VIII, Icarus, Dionysus

Ovid, Book IX, Hercules, Ares

22 Ovid, Book X, Orpheus


29 The Odyssey

Oct 6 The Odyssey


13 The Greek Theater

Aeschylus, Prometheus Bound

Sophocles, Oedipus

20 Sophocles, Antigone

Ovid, Book VII

27 Euripides, Medea

M I D T E R M (bring 1 large bluebook to class)

Nov 3 Euripides, Trojan Women


D U E / T E S T

10 Hardy, Jude the Obscure

17 Hardy, Jude the Obscure

24 Coehlo, The Alchemist

Dec 1 Coehlo, The Alchemist


A—an “A” essay is not merely engaging—it is convincing. The “A” essay is also marked by stylistic finesse: the title and opening paragraph are engaging; the transitions are artful; the phrasing is tight, fresh, and highly specific; the sentence structure is varied; the tone enhances the purposes of the paper. Finally, the “A” essay, because of its careful organization and development, imparts a feeling of wholeness and unusual clarity.
B—a “B” essay delivers substantial information-- that is, substantial in both quantity and interest value. Its specific points are logically ordered, well-developed, and unified around a clear organizing principle that is apparent early in the paper. The opening paragraph draws the reader in; the closing paragraph is both conclusive and thematically related to the opening. The transitions between paragraphs are for the most part smooth, the sentence structures pleasingly varied. The mark of “B” writing is that it engages and entertains its reader.
C—a “C” essay is an average essay. It serves to convey an idea to the reader; it demonstrates knowledge of the subject it treats; mechanical errors are few and do not jeopardize the sense of the essay. However, the reader will be aware of improvements that could have been made. For instance, several paragraphs may not be fully developed; the opening paragraph may not draw the reader in; the concluding paragraph may offer only a perfunctory wrap-up; the organization may not be well suited to the topic; the sentences may follow a few predictable patterns; the diction may not always be precise and effective. Thus, while “C” writing will serve its writer in most academic and life situations, there is room for improvement. A “C” in our writing courses is our way of expressing confidence that the writer who earns it is able to function at the college level.
D—a “D” essay is appropriate to the assignment but does not successfully fill one or more of the next level of expectations regarding student writing. It does not communicate an idea, treat a subject or demonstrate mastery of written language and conventions well enough to be considered adequate. It may in some manner be incoherent, so that the reader must guess at the meanings of sentences or whole paragraphs; the reader may be unable to see how the thoughts of the writer are connected from paragraph to paragraph. Language may be used incorrectly, grammar may be so consistently poor that it detracts from a reader’s attention to the material the essay covers; the whole idea may be improperly or hastily examined and poorly conveyed. Nevertheless, the reader will find that his/her struggle to understand the essay is in some measure rewarded by the exposition of a subject that the writer has earnestly engaged. No essay that shows a lack of mastery over the mechanical rules of written English can earn more than a “D”
F—we require that all work be done by the person asking to receive credit for it, that the work done suits the assignment given, and that the writing be an act of communication. Any failure in regards to the first or second requirement, no matter how good in other respects, must be graded “F.” An essay that does not manage to communicate the thinking of its author, does not treat a subject adequately or does not demonstrate command of standard written English will also earn an “F.”

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