The Hero's Journey

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This will be a course in comparative heroic poetry. Through exercises in writing, spoken presentation, and discussion we shall study and analyze various aspects of five epic poems, in particular the portrayals of the hero(in)es and conceptions of the heroic in four (very) different cultures. Among topics to be addressed are the narrative patterns of quest and journey (spatial and spiritual), the role of religion and the divine, the role of women, and the diverse cultural value systems reflected in the poems. Particular attention will be paid to the organization of papers and the effective expression of ideas in writing.