Seminar 0079 3:30p-6:00p W
This course offers an introduction to the field of comparative literature. We shall focus on the biblical book of Genesis read against the background of ancient Near Eastern and classical mythology (Egyptian hymns and incantations, the Gilgamesh Epic, the Enuma Elish, Hesiod's Theogony). Drawing on anthropology and the history of religion, as well as different modes of literary criticism, we shall be asking questions about the psychological, social, and scientific functions of myth, about adaptation and "demythologization," and about resemblances between myth on the one hand and legend, history, and narrative fiction on the other. As time allows, we shall also look briefly at the evolution of modern mythologies and at some of the ways modern writers have interpreted the biblical stories, transforming them into a source of fresh myths.
The course will be conducted as a seminar with an emphasis on student participation. Written work will include three short papers.