ENGL477 - Studies in Mythmaking

Who makes myth? And why? An exploration of the interdependence of myth, language, and culture. J. R. R. Tolkien's essay "On Fairy-stories" gives a theoretical base for the study of such primary myths as the Norse Eddas, the Welsh Mabinogion, the Finnish Kalevala, the Navajo Dine Bahane’, the Mayan Popol Vuh, and the Bible. Readings are arranged by theme beginning with Creation, and show how each of these texts displays a unique cultural approach to the mythic concerns of the Underworld Journey, the Sacred Marriage, Fate and Free Will, and the eschatology of the End of the World. Lecture combined with class discussion. Requirements: a midterm exam, an 8-10 page paper, and a two-hour final. Open to graduate students with instructor's permission.


Two English courses in literature or permission of the department.