SCANDINAVIAN R5A, Section 1: De/Re-constructing the Hero in Myth & Literature

TuTh 8-9:30 , Dwinelle 263. Instructor: Michael Lawson

Units: 4

The story of the hero is pervasive throughout both the sacred and secular writings of the world. From the enduring interest in the classical heroic epics of antiquity to the modern iterations of comic books that have found new life in recent Hollywood productions, much of the world continues to be obsessed with the journey of the hero. What makes these stories so appealing and ostensibly timeless? This course will critique the notion of a universal hero archetype and will instead seek to evaluate the role of the hero in storytelling. The required class readings will allow students to form critical questions about why the heroes of myth and literature continue to hold such an eternal interest to the human mind such as: “What is a hero and to whom are they heroic?”, “Can anyone be a hero?”, and “Do we have heroes today in the modern world and, if so, who are these heroes?” The source material for this course will span both European and Eastern mythologies and literatures, and in-class discussions will consider the various metrics that have been used to analyze the heroic model.

Prerequisites: None.

Due to the high demand for R&C courses we monitor attendance very carefully. Attendance is mandatory the first two weeks of classes, this includes all enrolled and wait listed students. If you do not attend all classes the first two weeks you may be dropped. If you are attempting to add into this class during weeks 1 and 2 and did not attend the first day, you will be expected to attend all class meetings thereafter and, if space permits, you may be enrolled from the wait list.