Myth Reading Group
Call for Proposals: Animals and Mythical Creatures
Domenico Zampieri, “Virgin and Unicorn”, c. 1604–05, fresco in Palazzo Farnese, Rome (public domain)
We are very pleased to announce that the theme for the Autumn Term is Animals and Mythical Creatures.
Taking our inspiration from “the zoo of mythologies, the zoo whose denizens are not lions but sphinxes and griffons and centaurs,” as Jorge Luis Borges described it in The Book of Imaginary Beings (p. 13), our Myth Reading Group will be exploring the presence of animals and creatures in myths.
Animals and imaginary creatures populate every civilization and culture in their written, visual or acoustic expression. Animals and beasts may carry religious or symbolic significance, such as the cat and the scarab beetle in Egyptian mythology, or may complete a heroic quest, such as the lion in The Chronicles of Narnia by C. S. Lewis. Mythical creatures of ancient times, such as the phoenix and the hippogriff, reappear in contemporary literature (see for example J. K. Rowling’s books) and film. This exploration of animals and creatures may also extend to other disciplines: the study of the trickster archetype by P. Radin and C. G. Jung is only one example of how animal tales inform our understanding of myth.
We invite proposals from anyone who is interested in any aspect of mythological animals and creatures and address the theme from a mythological perspective across cultures, periods, and media.
Please contact us with your suggestions for works or topics to read and discuss in the Autumn term (firstname.lastname@example.org). We are currently accepting proposals for video conferencing (by Skype) for those who cannot travel to Colchester.
The Myth Reading Group is open to anyone with an interest in myth. We meet on alternate Wednesdays in term time, between 5.00 and 6.30 p.m. (North Teaching Centre: Room NTC.2.05) at the University of Essex Colchester Campus. Our sessions include a short presentation of up to 30 minutes, followed by discussion or a reading session. Our first session will take place on 17 October.
Reference: Jorge Luis Borges, The Book of Imaginary Beings, trans. Norman Thomas di Giovanni, London: Vintage, 1969.