Folklore | What is Myth?
E103 | 12223 | G. Schrempp


“Myth” (or “mythology”) refers to colorful stories that tell about
the origin and nature of humans and the cosmos. Attitudes towards
myth vary greatly. Some regard it as a source of spiritual growth,
while others see only falsehood. Some see in myth the distinct
character of particular cultures, while others see universal
patterns. Some regard myth as “contemporary” and “alive,” while
others think of it as “ancient” and/or “dead.” Some regard myth as
easily dismissed, while others are astonished at how tenaciously
myth seems to grip our minds and emotions. We will explore the
nature of myth in four cultural contexts: Maori (Polynesia), Native
American, ancient Greek, and contemporary mass-media/entertainment.
Lectures and discussions will be supplemented by visual materials.
Course requirements include three short essays and a mid-term and
final exam.