The Journey of the Hero in Contemporary Epic Poetry

Myth Reading Group

Thursday 9 February

12.00-1.30pm in Room NTC.2.06

We are very pleased to announce that Jeremy Solnick will continue our discussion of mythical journeys with a session on the journey of the hero in epic poetry.


Red-figure amphora depicting Hephaestus polishing the shield of Achilles in the presence of Thetis, ca. 480 BC, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

From Gilgamesh’s journey to find the secret of eternal life and Odysseus’ wanderings to Satan’s flight from Pandemonium across the sea of chaos, the ’Journey of the Hero’ has been a central theme of epic poetry. However, in the 20th century poets started to look at this trope in a very different way.  Using W.H. Auden’s poem The Shield of Achilles and extracts from Derek Walcott’s Omeros and Anne Carson’s Autobiography of Red we will discuss these changes and how contemporary epic poets use them to put forward a more nuanced view of the hero than that conveyed in popular media.

Please see references for the set reading.



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