ENG 220: Mythology and Folklore-Honors, Fall 2019 (CRN 10905)

Section CAH:  Tuesday/Thursday, 8:30–9:45 am
  North Hall, Room 208

Brian T. Murphy

Bradley Hall, Y-16

e-mail: brian.murphy@ncc.edu

Schedule and Office Hours

Important Announcements and Updates

Tuesday, October 8:
I have added another choice for Response paper 5, due Thursday, 10 Oct. Choose from one of the following:

A.  In “Questions to Consider,” David Leeming writes, “Can a single archetypal flood myth be derived from these many cultural dreams of the flood? What are the necessary details of that myth? How are these details significant?” (44). Considering both those flood narratives Leeming presents and others, define the elements of an archetypal flood myth; that is, what elements do all (or most) of the flood narratives include? Which are not universal, but at least relatively frequent? And which are not common to the archetype at all, but specific to a single tale or culture?

B.  Compare “Akallabęth: The Downfall of Númenor” in The Silmarillion (Handout) with the story of Atlantis as told in Plato’s Critias. Discuss the way that Tolkien draws on the Atlantis tradition but modifies it to suit his invented mythology. That is, compare and contrast “The Downfall of Númenor” and the legend of Atlantis. How are they similar, how do they differ, and why?



Monday, October 7:
Remember that we do not meet tomorrow: on Tuesday, day classes meet on a Monday schedule; Evening classes do not meet.

Because of my mistake in leaping from to Pantheons to Flood Narratives,  we are one day ahead of schedule. Let’s finish the stories of the deluge tomorrow, including those in Leeming but also Tolkien’s “Akallabęth” (Handout) and maybe the legend of Atlantis.

Starting on Tuesday, October 15, we will begin Trickster Tales.



Monday, September 30:
We’ll begin discussing Flood Narratives tomorrow, so be sure to read “The Flood” (Leeming 43-70), The Epic of Atraḥasis, ll. i.b135-iii.d7 (online), and Tolkien, “Akallabęth: The Downfall of Númenor” (Handout). We will begin with Atrahasis, Gilgamesh, and Genesis, as well as the Greco-Roman story of Deucalion and Pyrrah (the others will be for Thursday); you should be prepared to identify several elements common to these stories, as well as several ways in which they differ.

I will also return your Proposals/Research Topics tomorrow; as the assignment is worth 2.5% of your final grade, I evaluated them on a scale of 0 to 2.5, based on format, content, and writing. While I did not say No to any of them, I did specifically ask two or three students to meet with me to discuss refocusing or rethinking their approach. I would also be glad to meet with any other students with questions or concerns and will probably end the class a bit early to make time for meetings.

Finally, I have posted information about several additional Extra Credit opportunities on  the main page: two movies, Redoubt (a revision of Diana and Actaeon) and Ne Zha (a Chinese origin story adapted from The Investiture of the Gods  (封神演), and Hadestown, which is unfortunately prohibitively expensive. (Tickets start at $99-149!)


Wednesday, September 25:
We’ll continue discussing Pantheons tomorrow, so no new readings, just Leeming, “The Pantheons” (89-115) and Tolkien, “Valaquenta(Handout). I hope to look at the Egyptian and Indian pantheons, or at least touch on them, but we’ll see how things go.

Also, remember that Proposals/Research Topics are due. You must submit one page, typed, following the format specified in the assignment:

Topic: the specific topic selected from the list provided or one you have developed in consultation with the instructor.
Rationale: why you have chosen to research and write about this particular topic.
Focus: a narrowed form of the subject, and the issue or debate involved.
Opinion: your subjective opinion on the debate or issue.
Thesis: your opinion, worded objectively.

I have also posted Response Paper Topics for the next few weeks, up until Thursday, October 24. Remember you must submit at least ten (10) response papers, and at least one must be presented to the class.

Wednesday, September 18:
To wrap up the week, let’s discuss the following tomorrow:

Hesiod, Works and Days ll. 1-201, esp. 106-201

 Ovid, Metamorphoses I, ll. 1-603 (through “The Iron Age” and “The Giants’ War”)

Tolkien, “Ainulindalë: The Music of the Ainur” from The Silmarillion (Handout)

We’ll also have a quiz on these readings; let’s say basic questions such as what are the Five Ages of Man, who is Ilúvatar, who are the Valar,  and so on.

I have also posted additional Extra Credit opportunities to the main page: workshops at the NCC Center for Educational and Retention Counseling. I don’t suppose anyone in this class needs to attend a workshop on note-taking or studying, but the opportunities are there nonetheless.

Friday, September 13:
In addition to the readings in your textbook and handouts, please be sure complete the following for Tuesday’s class:

 Leeming, “Prometheus” and “Pandora” (171-174)

 Genesis 3, 5

 Hesiod, Works and Days ll. 1-201, esp. 106-201

 Ovid, Metamorphoses I (through “The Iron Age”)

 The Epic of Atraḥasis, ll. 1-247

As a reminder, we will have a guest speaker on Tuesday. I have also posted the additional Extra Credit opportunity to the main page. 

Monday, September 9:
For Tuesday's class, be sure to complete the readings listed on the syllabus: Leeming, “The Creation” (15-42); Gaiman, “Before the Beginning, and After” (Handout); and Tolkien, “ Ainulindalë: The Music of the Ainur” (Handout). This week we will focus on cosmological myths, while next week we will focus more closely on the creation (and fall) of human beings.

In addition, topics for Response Papers #2, 3, and 4 have all been posted. Response #2 is due on Thursday, although you may submit it tomorrow if you wish; the topic is as follows:

According to Leeming (16), Charles Long’s Alpha: The Myth of Creation identifies five archetypes of creation: ex nihilo, chaos, world parent, emergence, and earth diver creation myths. As we look at the creation myths from numerous cultures and different eras, we do see that certain themes or elements repeat, and that these categories, while overlapping, do apply, at least to those discussed by Leeming. Why do so many different cultures share these common motifs or ideas? That is, what does this indicate about the nature of myths or about humans and human culture?

Finally, there may be a quiz tomorrow, so be sure you are familiar with at least the five archetypes of creation and the Greek, Norse, and biblical accounts of creation.

Wednesday, 4 September:
The packet of readings for Biallas, Myths: Gods, Heroes, and Saviors has an error: “Myth and Religion” contains two copies of pages 24-25 from the text. I have emailed a copy of the correct page 7 for your handout, featuring pages 26-27 from the original text. I have also updated and posted the relevant section online.

Tuesday, 3 September:
As per the syllabus, you should read both  Leeming, “Introduction: The Dimensions of Myth” (1-8) and Biallas, “Myth and Religion” in the handout you received today. If you are unable to get the textbook in time to read the introduction to Leeming's book before Thursday, you may read it online, here.

Monday, 2 September:

Just a last-minute reminder that classes begin tomorrow, Tuesday, September 3.
We will meet in North Hall, Room 208, at 8:30 AM.


Tuesday, 13 August:

  I have added the first Extra Credit opportunity to the main page:

The Lightning Thief
Longacre Theater,
220 W 48th St,
New York, NY 10036

20 September 2019―5 January 2020
(Opens 16 Oct. 2019)

Ticket prices and schedule not yet available.


 Tuesday, July 30:

 The Academic Calendar for Fall 2019 has finally been posted. Consequently, both the main page and syllabus have been updated. Note: the most current version will always be available online, and changes will always be posted here as well as announced in class.

 Thursday, July 25:

 The main page and syllabus have both been updated for the Fall 2019 semester. In addition, textbooks have been ordered through the NCC Campus Store; however, you are encouraged to purchase them from wherever they are least expensive. We will be using the following:

Leeming, David. The World of Myth: An Anthology, 3 ed. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2018. 978-0190900137. (Available starting at $22.46 at Amazon.com)
Note: The second edition of The World of Myth is also acceptable, and substantially less expensive: $13.00 at Amazon.com.*

*Prices listed at Amazon.com do not include shipping, and are accurate as of original posting date only; no guarantees of prices or availability are express or implied§.





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