Round Table Discussion: Aquatic Chaos (Part II)

Myth Reading Group

Round Table

Thursday 23 November

12.00-1.30pm in Room 5S.3.8

We are very pleased to announce that Robert W. Allen will lead Part II of our round table discussion of Aquatic Chaos

AquaticImage

Zao Wou-Ki, 25-10-2002, 2002, Wikiart

In this session, we will have the opportunity to complete our discussion of the link between myth, primordial waters, and the concept of chaos. We will consider the concept of Aquatic Chaos as “the basis for the near-universal motif of the primordial flood” (Eleazar Meletinsky, The Poetics of Myth), and in relation to the four texts provided last week.

For an interesting comparison of the story of the flood in the Bible and the Epic of Gilgamesh, see Neil MacGregor’s episode “Living with Many Gods” [ 5.46 mins. into the programme] from Living with the Gods series. The 11th Tablet of the Epic of Gilgamesh can be viewed in the British Museum online collection: The Flood Tablet.

 

ALL WELCOME

 

 

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Call for Proposals: Trees & Forests

Centre for Myth Studies

Myth Reading Group

Call for Proposals: Trees & Forests

YggdrasilTreeOfKnowledge

Yggdrasil, the Tree of Life in Norse Mythology, and the Nine Worlds, Pinterest

The Myth Reading Group continues in the spring term with the theme of “Trees and Forests”.

Trees hold a prominent place in cultures and religions since they are associated with fertility and rebirth, immortality, enlightenment and eternal youth. In many cosmologies, a tree unites the different realms of the cosmos and functions as the world axis. In Norse cosmology Yggdrasil’s roots and branches are spread across nine worlds. For Mircea Eliade “the tree came to express everything that religious man regards as pre-eminently real and sacred” (Eliade, 1957, 149). Forests contain and extend the symbolism of trees and as such they are often depicted as realms of enchantment, transformation, and encounters with other worlds and beings.

We invite proposals from anyone who is interested in any aspect of trees and forests and address the theme from a mythological perspective across cultures, periods, and media.

For an inspiring discussion of the significance of the forest in Russian fairytales, please see Sally Pomme Clayton’s blog post about her recent performance at our centre: “Babayaga’s Daughter”.

For more on trees, woods, & forests, see the V&A Exhibition Into the Woods: Trees in Photography (opening on 18 November), Robert MacFarlane’s article on The Secret of the Wood Wide Web in The New Yorker, his research on landscape & nature, and the many Twitter threads from his word of the day (we have selected two for you, on Yggdrasil and understory).

Please contact us with your suggestions for works or topics to read and discuss in the Spring term (mythic@essex.ac.uk, proposals by end of December 2017). We are very pleased to announce that video conferencing is also available.

The Myth Reading Group is open to anyone with an interest in myth. We meet every Thursday in term time, between 12:00 and 1:30 p.m. (Room 3.411) at the University of Essex Colchester Campus. Our sessions include a short presentation, up to 30 minutes, followed by discussion.

References: Mircea Eliade, The Sacred and the Profane: The Nature of Religion, trans. Willard R. Trask (London: Harvest, 1957).

 

 

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Round Table Discussion: Aquatic Chaos

Myth Reading Group

Round Table

Thursday 16 November

12.00-1.30pm in Room 3.411

AquaticImage

Zao Wou-Ki, 25-10-2002, 2002, Wikiart

In The Poetics of Myth,  Eleazar Meletinsky, noting that “the motif of the primordial ocean that gives birth to land is universal”, writes that “the motif of aquatic chaos is no doubt the basis for the near-universal motif of the primordial flood”. At the next meeting of the Myth Reading Group we shall hold a round table discussion of the motif of Aquatic Chaos as presented in the biblical account of the flood in Genesis and in the dream of the Arab in Book V of Wordsworth’s Prelude.

We hope the set texts will encourage a lively discussion of the link between myth, primordial waters, and the void. See also further reading in the document above and the blog entry on The Void.

ALL WELCOME

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Myth(s) & Magic in Pan’s Labyrinth (Part II)

Myth Reading Group

Thursday 9 November

12.00-1.30pm in Room 3.411

We are very pleased to announce that Eirini Apanomeritaki will do a follow-up session of “Pan’s Labyrinth”

Pan's labyrinth

Pan’s Labyrinth poster [El laberinto del fauno, dir. Guillermo del Toro], 2006

In this session, we will have the opportunity to complete our discussion of myths and magic features used in the film.

Set in 1944, five years after the end of the Spanish Civil War, the story of Ofelia and her encounter with a faun continuously straddles the boundaries between magic and reality. Ofelia moves with her mother close to a seemingly enchanted forest where they join her stepfather, Captain Vidal, one of Franco’s officers. The real and the fantastic blend in the movie as Ofelia experiences the horrors of the regime while the faun asks her to carry out a series of tasks that will restore her place as princess Moanna, according to the legend. Ofelia’s tasks, her underground journey to the labyrinth, and the monstrous creatures of the unworldly, mystical realm draw their inspiration from fairy tales and hero quests as much as from classical myths and their imagery (as in Francisco Goya’s Saturn Devouring His Son).

Selected clips from the movie will be shown in the session. See a review of the film by A.O.Scott, “In Gloom of War, a Child’s Paradise”, 29 December 2009, The New York Times, and María Teresa DePaoli’s chapter as additional reading (“Fantasy and Myth in Pan’s Labyrinth: Analysis of Guillermo del Toro´s Symbolic Imagery”, in Scott E. Hendrix and Timothy J. Shannon eds., Magic and the Supernatural. Oxford: Inter-Disciplinary Press, 2012, pp. 49-54).

ALL WELCOME

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Taking Nothing for Granted: The Formless in its many Forms

Myth Reading Group

Thursday 02 November

12.00-1.30pm in Room 3.411

We are very pleased to announce that Dr Leon Burnett, founding and former Director of the Centre for Myth Studies, opens our discussion of The Void with a session on creation & nothingness

Giacometti

Alberto Giacometti, Mains tenant le vide
Hands Holding the Void (Invisible Object), 1934 (cast c. 1954-55)
Museum of Modern Art
Louise Reinhardt Smith Bequest

The texts for this week’s Myth Reading Group bring together Eastern and Western versions of the Void grounded, respectively, in Taoism and Fantasy to underline the pervasiveness of a particular cosmogonic motif, the creation of the world ex nihilo and its return to a state of nothingness.

Passages from the Tao Te Ching [verses 6, 14, 40 & 11] and Richard Berengarten’s Changing [see title page] will be considered alongside an extract from Chapter IX of Michael Ende’s Neverending Story.

Please also see some notes on Giacometti’s Invisible Object, and further information  about primary texts and background reading.

ALL WELCOME

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Eurydice Extra

GhostJam

A new event following our Translating Eurydice conference later this month!

Ghost Jam is a collective of poets and artists who will be bringing Beyond Eurydice to the conference. This work has grown out of the Orpheus Project which delighted and unsettled the Myth Reading Group in 2012.

For full detail of the conference on 27 October, click here.

In the evening after the conference, Ghost Jam will be taking Beyond Orpheus Beyond Eurydice to Hackney for an evening performance.

Using words, film, darkness, movement, and noise, Ghost Jam promise to transcend usual Friday night tedium with their Orphic disorientation.

Friday 27 October 2017, 7:45 pm
Centre 151, 151 Whiston Road, London E2 8GU
Free (voluntary contributions welcome)
http://www.centre151.com/

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Call for Proposals: The Void

Centre for Myth Studies

Myth Reading Group

Call for Proposals: The Void

 

RobertFluddTheGreatDarkness

Robert Fludd, ‘The Great Darkness or Mysterium Magnum’, in History of the Macrocosm and Microcosm (1617), Ritman Library, Pinterest

[…]
Which is the sound of the land
Full of the same wind
That is blowing in the same bare place
 
For the listener, who listens in the snow,
And, nothing himself, beholds
Nothing that is not there and the nothing that is.
—Wallace Stevens “The Snow Man”, ll: 10-15.

 

The Myth Reading Group returns this term with the theme of “The Void”.

We invite proposals from anyone who is interested in any aspect of the void and address the theme from a mythological perspective across cultures, periods, and media. For an inspiring introduction to the topic, check out our blog entry “The Void” by Dr Leon Burnett, founding and former director of the Centre for Myth Studies. For a discussion of Robert Fludd’s image above and the question of origins, see Alan Cardew, ‘The Archaic and the Sublimity of Origins’, Paul Bishop (ed.), The Archaic: The Past in the Present (Hove: Routledge, 2012), pp. 93-146.

Please contact us with your suggestions for works or topics to read and discuss in the Autumn  term. Sessions will resume on 2 November, one week after the Translating Eurydice Conference we are co-organising with The University of East London (UEL), and end on 14 December 2017.  We are very pleased to announce that the first session will be led by Dr Leon Burnett. Please email us at mythic@essex.ac.uk with proposals or suggestions.

The Myth Reading Group is open to anyone with an interest in myth. We meet every Thursday in term time, between 12:00 and 1:30 p.m. (Room 3.411) at the University of Essex Colchester Campus. Our sessions include a short presentation, up to 30 minutes, followed by discussion.

 

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