Animals and Mythical Creatures – Roundtable

Roundtable Session
Animals and Mythical Creatures

Myth Reading Group
Thursday 7 March 2019
12.00 – 1.30 pm
Room 5B.124

John William Waterhouse, The Siren (1900)

We are very pleased to announce that our next session will be a roundtable discussion. As a way of starting our discussion, we will consider texts on this academic year’s theme: “Animals and Mythical creatures,” and specifically extracts from the Making Monsters: A Speculative and Classical Anthology, edited by Emma Bridges and Djibril al-Ayad (2018).

We would like to invite participants to either send suggestions for extracts to be discussed at the round table or bring along short texts on the day. Please email texts or images to mythic@essex.ac.uk. All approaches to myth as well as myths from all cultures are welcome!

See also our call for proposals.

Suggested Reading:

  • Extracts from Making Monsters: A Speculative and Classical Anthology, edited by Emma Bridges and Djibril al-Ayad (Futurefire.net Publishing, 2018). Poems: “To the Gargoyle Army” by H.A. Eilander and “Siren Song” by Barbara E. Hunt; Short stories: “Justice is a Noose” by Valentine Wheeler, “A Heart of Stone” by Tom Johnstone
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2 Responses to Animals and Mythical Creatures – Roundtable

  1. I was extremely touched by Valentine Wheeler’s “Justice Is a Noose”. I used an invocation to the Fates, Alecto, Megaera, and Tisiphone in my play “Crazy Wisdom”. They speak to a more ruthless atavistic part of me that needs and wants honoring. I was very happy to do that publically. They sit firmly in my pantheon of muses.

    By the way, I am looking for discussions on sorting (ie- wheat from barley, peas from pebbles, etc,) as an impossible task in fairy tale or myth – any comments or references?

    • Thank you for your comment.

      You raise an interesting point with regard to sorting. The confusion of opposites or differences is such a crucial part of so many myths, but off the top of my head I can’t think of a tale which deals specifically with the impossible task of sorting.

      Tangentially, what do come to mind are Lévi-Strauss’s emphasis on discrimination and negotiating opposites (e.g. The Raw and the Cooked); and various references to winnowing in Homer: an epic simile in the Iliad, in which an arrow bounces off Menelaus like winnowed chick-peas (Iliad 13.588-92), and the instruction that Odysseus walks inland until his oar is mistaken for a winnowing shovel (Odyssey 11.121-30).

      The people of Folklore Thursday (https://twitter.com/FolkloreThurs) may be able to help with your request.

      -Ben

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