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Greek Myth to Modern Novel

Jenny Morris

Course Title: Greek Myth to Modern Novel

Course Code: 5XGM05B19

Start Date: 28/02/2020

Day of the Week:
  • Friday

Session: Afternoon

Length in weeks: 5

Time: 2:00pm to 4:00pm

Price: £

During the last few years, several novelists have turned their attention to myths from Greek mythology, transforming them into fiction for the 21st century. In some cases, the mythical characters and plot remain at the foreground of the book, whilst the perspective may be different from the ancient source text: Margaret Atwood’s Penelopiad, and Pat Barker’s The Silence of the Girls are cases in point; similarly, Madeline Miller’s The Song of Achilles and her recent Circe. All four novels are clearly inspired by Homer’s epics. Other contemporary writers have distanced themselves from the ancient Greek environment, using contemporary characters and situations, but taking their core inspiration from an ancient story. Most notable here, is Kamila Shamsie’s Home Fire, which explores a situation presented on the Athenian stage by Sophocles in the 5th century BC, but which now tells the story of a young Muslim women with a radicalised brother. Participants do not need a detailed knowledge of Greek mythology, and are not expected to have read all these novels: it is hoped that they will be inspired to read some of them during the course, however. There will be much discussion.

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