The Feminine Imaginary and Ancient Greece: Sappho, Medea, and Cassandra
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We will pursue questions of myth, material culture, archaeology, poetics, and art history in Ancient Greece, as they bear upon the question of the figuration and conceptualization of the feminine. Our key figures in this pursuit are Sappho, the great lyric poet of the ancient world and the inventor of the lyric; Medea, in Euripides' tragedy; and Medea and Cassandra, in Aeschylus’ play Agamemnon, foreign women who each in their own way represent potential projections of the cthonian Greek woman, liberated. This examination of woman in myth, poetry, and theater will be grounded in an investigation of actual Greek and foreign women in their lives and in their world, as pursued through the study of archaeological records and art historical documents and artifacts. Writing assignments will be variously. interpretative, scholarly, and creative.
Readings for this program will include Anne Carson’s translations of Sappho in If Not Winter ; Euripides’ The Medea ; Aeschylus’ The Oresteia , and 20th-century German writer Christa Wolf’s reinventions of these figures in her novels Cassandra and Medea . Other readings include Aristotle’s Poetics and selected primary and secondary sources on Greek women. Time and space will be established for students to pursue independent research or poetics projects that delve more deeply into particular areas of inquiry or attempt to discover new variants of the myths. This program is well suited for students interested in classics, poetics, creative writing, archaeology, and art history.
This offering will prepare you for careers and advanced study in:
Humanities, social sciences, arts
Class Size: 50
Scheduled for: Day
Final schedule and room assignments:
Located in: Olympia