Why have some stories gripped the imagination of writers, musicians, and artists across cultures and centuries? And what does the emergence and constant re-emergence of such stories tell us about ourselves and others, past and present? What do readers and audiences continually find compelling about these translations, adaptations and transformations? How do writers reshape the stories they retell to meet the needs of their own times. In this module, you will trace, analyse, theorise and compare the inventions and reinventions of a classic narrative across history and through genres, from poetry to novels, and from song to paintings and film.
Aims and Objectives
Knowledge and Understanding
Having successfully completed this module, you will be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of:
- the connections between high and popular culture, the notions of cultural authority, appropriation, imitation, and invention, and how these differ from plagiarism
- the continuities and discontinuities between traditions of literature across centuries
- appropriation, imitation, and invention, and how these differ from plagiarism
- the reasons for which different stories are told and retold
- the “constructedness” of the past
- the dissemination and circulation of cultural items through different media
Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:
- identify the essential constituents of a concept or topic from a range of early texts and images
- acquire, select, structure, and present materials in relation to a particular critical argument
- compare and contrast apparently similar material from different periods
- evaluate, and criticise tendentious claims for the naturalness or authority of cultural traditions
- analyse and explain the artifice of texts and visual images
- analyse and relate to each other complex written texts and associated visual images
- explain literary tradition diachronically and synchronically, by making connections between manifestations of a topic through time and by identifying the immediate cultural contexts of their production
This module will focus on the imitations and re-inventions of a story that has gained the status of an ‘origin’. You will read poetic texts from the classical (Graeco-Roman) world in translation and will examine a selection of works inspired by these, including poetic, prose, and visual forms from the first to the twenty-first centuries. We will ask you to both value and question what it means for a story to gather classic status. We will investigate the implications and effects of the transfer of narrative elements from one form or genre to another, and between periods and cultures. While the story-tradition under investigation may change from year to year, the long stretch of history and cultural reach that defines this module will always draw you into discussions about the formation of power, and about the relationship between past, present and future: between intimate moments and public structures; between humans, animals and the supernatural; between life and death.
Learning and Teaching
Teaching and learning methods
Teaching methods include
- private consultation
- feedback on written work
Learning activities include
- reading books and engaging with other cultural productions
- seminar discussion
- visual and textual analysis
- creation of a commonplace book
- writing essays
This module includes a Learning Support Hour. This is a flexible weekly contact hour, designed to support and respond to the particular cohort taking the module from year to year. This hour will include (but not be limited to) activities such as language, theory and research skills classes; group work supervisions; assignment preparation and essay writing guidance; assignment consultations; feedback and feed-forward sessions.
|Completion of assessment task||49|
|Preparation for scheduled sessions||47|
|Wider reading or practice||9|
|Total study time||150|
Resources & Reading list
Module readings will vary from year to year.. Authors studied might range from Homer, Virgil, and Ovid to Tennyson, Joyce and Atwood.
This is how we’ll give you feedback as you are learning. It is not a formal test or exam.Critical Analysis
This is how we’ll formally assess what you have learned in this module.
This is how we’ll assess you if you don’t meet the criteria to pass this module.
Repeat type: Internal & External