Thursday 17 March: Reading the Strands of Ariadne’s Story

The Centre for Myth Studies is pleased to invite you to our Spring term Open Seminar given by our former Director, Dr Leon Burnett.

Open Seminar
Centre for Myth Studies
University of Essex

Thursday 17 March (5:00pm, in Room 5N.3.9)

Reading the Strands of Ariadne’s Story
Dr Leon Burnett (University of Essex)


Mikhail Ivanovich Kozlovsky, “Bacchus sees Ariadne sleeping on the island of Naxos” (1780), The State Tretyakov Gallery, Russia

The story of Ariadne, shaped by her encounters with Theseus and Dionysus, is one of union and separation, of joy and despair, of displacement in life and transfiguration in death. It is filled with an ambivalence characteristic of myth in general and of Greek mythology in particular. In her life, two locations stand out as pre-eminent: the intricate labyrinth in the Cretan palace at Knossos and the deserted beach on the island of Naxos (or, as it is called in antiquity, Dia). Each of these locations provides a striking backdrop for the enfolding and unfolding of the emotional turmoil that may be read in the tale of Ariadne. The seminar paper explores the ‘emotional logic’ of Ariadne’s story, contrasting the treatment of the myth in the ancient world with its manifestation in the literature and art of the twentieth century.

Pre-seminar reading: Catullus’ Poem 64 (The Wedding of Peleus and Thetis)

Dr Leon Burnett is former Director of the Centre for Myth Studies (2008-2014). His research and publications are mainly in Comparative Literature and Mythology. He was the main editor of the British Comparative Literature Association’s house journal, New Comparison, for eight years (1992-2000) and, more recently, he has co-edited three books: The Art of Accommodation: Literary Translation in Russia (2013), Myth, Literature, and the Unconscious (2013), and Translating Myth (2016).

Followed by drinks


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