LLT 321 Comparative Mythology Spring 2009 [Spring 2012 under construction]
Edwin Carawan .... (now Siceluff 115) .... Office Hours: 1 MWF, 3:30 TTh
Objectives: This course is an investigation of the common patterns and social causes of myth-making. The guiding theme of our study will be Violence and Order: we focus on the way myth seems to justify the practices of religion and early law as originating in some 'killing-in-exchange' (sacrifice or retribution).
Readings are divided into two units: (1) Creation and the Cosmos; and (2) the Hero's Quest. With so wide a scope, we shall have to be selective. For primary material, Greek myth is central because it is so fully preserved. For comparison we focus first upon the most ancient sources, Sumer and Babylon, with a brief look at Egypt; we then turn to the relatively recent but remarkably primitive remains of Norse saga and related Germanic legend. Parallel to this last set of readings we will sample and discuss a representative work of modern mythography: Walter Burkert's Structure and History, an influential model tracing the roots of mythmaking back to defining violence in early human society.
Reqirements: The course grade will consist of 3 components: (a) Quizzes and in-class exercises (total 40-50%), (b) Essays (20-25 % each) and a Final Exam (20-25%)-- Upper percentages with Quiz 4 instead of Essay 2. The quizzes are largely short answer, matching and brief identification (See Practice for Quiz 1 linked below).
Readings should be completed for the assigned date, and basic comprehension will be measured by in-class exercises. The essays reflect upon common and contrasting elements in two or more traditions; 4-5 pages suggested. (Essay guides below).
The Final is largely review: short answer on basic terms, discussion of broader themes.
Integrity: Any request for make-up or rescheduling of tests should document reasonable need. Any academic dishonesty will be subject to sanctions (as listed in Student Academic Integrity, p.4) proportionate to the work: zero on quiz; course F on essay; XF on Final.
Special considerations: We strongly support University policies to accommodate students with disabilities and to prevent or remedy discrimination of any kind. If you have a concern or special need, please advise the instructor. In regard to disabilities, you may also contact Disability Services (836-4192) http://www.missouristate.edu/disability; regarding discrimination, the Equal Opportunity Officer (836-4252) or go to http://www.missouristate.edu/human/eoaa.htm.
Texts: Thorkild Jacobsen, The Treasures of Darkness (1976 = TD);
Lombardo, The Essential Homer (2000); HRE Ellis, Gods and Myths of Northern Europe (=MNE)
Burkert, Structure and History in Greek Mythology and Ritual. Additional materials provided in class and online.
Recommended: J. Byock trans. The Saga of the Volsungs ; Burkert, Homo Necans ; Wm. Ian Miller, Eye for an Eye.
Preface: ......sketch of Creation stories
Unit I. Creation and the Cosmos
Jan. 27. ...(lost to bad weather). Date-changes in MAROON
Jan. 29... . Treasures ch. 4, cont. TD 95-143:
Feb. 3 . . TD 146-64, Rise of Personal Religion
Feb. 5 . . . . .Quiz 1
Hesiod, the Greek Theogony (main text)
Feb. 12 ...Egyptian Myths of Creation (hndt)
Lot's Daughters (another Cataclysm survived)
Feb. 24 . . . Quiz 2.
Feb. 26... Gilgamesh & Co.= TD 195-219 (Guide)
Mar. 3... Enkidu and the Netherworld
[Mar. 3 ...Essay Outline due]
Unit II. The Hero's Quest
Mar. 5 ...End of the Iliad (16-24)= Homer 153-240
Mar. 10 ... Odyssey 9-13
Mar. 12 . . .Odyssey 16-18 ... Essay I is due
Mar. 19 ...Quiz 3
***Mar. 23-7, Spring Break ***
Mar. 31 ... Norse Myth I (NME chh. 1-2) Background
[no class April 2]
Apr. 7 ... Norse Myth II (NME chh.3-4) [no class 4/9]
Thor and Thrym ...Thor & Loki Compared
Apr. 14 ..... Norse Myth III (NME chh. 6-7)
Gylfaginning 38-50 (Siring of Sleipnir,
Journey to Utgard, Baldr & Ragnarok)
5th c. Background: Volsungs and Burgundians
Apr. 21 ... Volsunga Saga 19-32 (Byock 65-92)
Apr. 23... Quiz 4 OR Outline due for Essay 2
Apr. 28....Burkert ch. 1. Defining Myth
Apr. 30....Burkert chh. 2-3, Ritual and Scapegoat.
May 5...Burkert chh. 4-5 (6 optional),
May 7 ... Review and Discussion
May 14 (Thursday) ....Final Exam (1:15)