Current Programme


Summer 2018: Trees and Forests

Thursdays, 12:00-1:30pm., Room 4.204 (wks 30-37) & Room 3.413 (wks 38-29: 21 & 28 June)

3 May Dr Leon Burnett  A Tour in the Forest
Friday 11 May Centre for Myth Studies

11.00-17.30 in Room 4.722 (University of Essex)

The event will open with Introduction by the centre’s Director, Prof. Roderick Main (PPS), reading of “The Man of the Wood” by Dr Saul Andreetti (Bologna) & in conversation session with Dr Leon Burnett, and keynote lecture by Prof. Jose’ Manuel Losada (Complutense University, Madrid), followed by  & seminar by Dr Pietra Palazzolo (Centre for Myth Studies, & Open University)

Celebratory dinner at The Brasserie at Wivenhoe House (19.00)

The Old and the New

A One-day Symposium to mark the tenth anniversary of the foundation of the Centre for Myth Studies

Book your place on the Eventbrite page!


17 May Cristina Salcedo González
(Universidad Autónoma de Madrid)
‘No roses, white or red, glow here’: the motif of the garden in the poetry of A. Swinburne & D. Greenwell
24 May

Room EBS.1.1

Video Conference Myth Reading Group

Dr Dimitra Fimi

(Cardiff Metropolitan University)

‘The Battle of the Trees’: from medieval Welsh legend to modern fantasy
31 May Abigail Walker (Department of Classics at King’s College, London) Civilised garden or fantastical wilderness?: the ‘Garden Room’ in the Villa of Livia in Rome
7 June Amelia Starling (Content editor for #FolkloreThursday) The Significance of Trees in Japanese Culture, Religion, & Folklore
14 June Gillian Lock-Bowen Yggdrasil: from Norse Mythology to Anselm Kiefer’s art works
21 June Dr Emma Bridges (Institute of Classical Studies, London) Odysseus, Penelope, and the olive-tree bed of the Odyssey 23
28 June Robert William Allen

(Open University)

Re-imaginings of myth in the landscapes of Thomas Hardy’s Tess of the D’Urbervilles (Part II)

Spring 2018: Trees & Forests

Thursdays, 12:00-1:30pm., Room 3.411

25 January Dr Leon Burnett The Dance of the Trees: the backward flight of time in  The Lost Steps
1 February Dr Anita Klujber Rings & Ripples: A Mythic Structure of Growth in Denise Levertov’s ‘A Tree Telling of Orpheus’
8 February Eirini Apanomeritaki Tree Imagery & Symbolism in Herman Hesse’s Pictor Metamorphoses
15 February Jeremy Solnick  Sacred Groves

22 February


Delighted to announce that in addition to the myth reading group session by Dr Bartholomew, the theme of Trees & Forests will be explored on #FolkloreThursday (@FolkloreThurs)!


Dr. Linda Jo Bartholomew Neil Gaiman’s ‘Snow, Glass, Apples’: Rewriting ‘Little Snow White’
1 March Robert William Allen

(CANCELLED due to adverse weather conditions)

Re-imaginings of myth in the landscapes of Thomas Hardy’s Tess of the D’Urbervilles (Part I)
8 March  John Driver  Forbidden Fruit
15 March




22 March

Robert William Allen




Sarah Armstrong



Re-imaginings of myth in the landscapes of Thomas Hardy’s Tess of the D’Urbervilles (Part I)



The forests of Moscow: the political fairy tales of Russia




Autumn 2017: The Void

Thursdays, 12:00-1:30pm., Room 3.411

Friday 27 October

Translating Eurydice Conference

(UEL, Stratford Campus)


Beyond Orpheus Beyond Eurydice

by Ghost Jam


A one-day conference on myth in the twenty-first century organised by the Centre for Myth Studies, (Essex) and Psychosocial Studies (UEL)

The conference will be followed by an evening performance by Ghost Jam

2 November Dr Leon Burnett Taking Nothing for Granted: The Formless in its many Forms
9 November Eirini Apanomeritaki Pan’s Labyrinth (dir. Guillermo del Toro)
16 November Round Table Discussion chaired by Dr Leon Burnett  Aquatic Chaos (Part I)
23 November Round Table Discussion chaired by Robert W. Allen  Aquatic Chaos (Part II)
30 November  Rich Fliss Inner Void: Gyges’ Ring of Invisibility
7 December  Jeremy Solnick Representations of Chaos in Xhosa Myth & Storytelling
14 December Katerina Volioti (University of Roehampton)

Afternoon session: 3.15-5.00pm in Room 4.204

Followed by drinks!

The Visual Language of (Hesiod’s) Creation in Children’s Books

Dr Volioti’s research is linked to the international project Our Mythical Childhood


Summer 2017: Myth & Magic

Thursdays, 12:00-1:30pm., Room 5A.118

4 May Professor Roderick Main ‘Route 110’: Heaney’s quotidian katabasis (Follow-up session)
11 May Round Table Discussion Myth & Magic
18 May Dr Leon Burnett Out of Nature: Myth and Magic in the Early Modern Period
25 May Jeremy Solnick  Myth and Magical Realism in the work of Ben Okri and Zakes Mda
1 June  Reading week See Amelia Starling’s guest post: Sleeping Beauty and the Fates of Mythology
8 June Shehzad Raj Dionysus, the Eastern Conjuror
15 June Professor Roderick Main Merlin & Faust: contrasting representations of magicians in Western literature
22 June Eirini Apanomeritaki Pan’s Labyrinth (dir. Guillermo del Toro)


Spring 2017: Journeys

Thursdays, 12:00-1:30pm., Room NTC.2.06

2 February Dr Leon Burnett The Longest Journey: Inanna’s Descent
9 February Jeremy Solnick The Journey of the Hero in Contemporary Epic Poetry
16 February Eirini Apanomeritaki The politics of journey in Aristophanes’ Frogs
23 February Roundtable discussion chaired by Dr Pietra Palazzolo Sea Journeys
2 March Dr Pietra Palazzolo Creation myths in Ex Machina & Her
9 March Max Maher Nomadic Modernism: Aristeas as re-imagined by J.H.Prynne
16 March Fliss Rich Journeying from one life to the next: Reincarnation in Tibetan Buddhist writing, art & practice
 23 March Professor Roderick Main ‘Route 110’: Heaney’s quotidian katabasis


Autumn 2016: Mythscapes

Thursdays, 12:00-1:30pm., Room NTC.2.06

3 November Dr Leon Burnett Naxos Revisited
10 November Dr Ben Pestell Après le déluge: Post-apocalyptic archaism
16 November Speakers include: Dr Ben Pestell, Dr Pietra Palazzolo, and Dr Leon Burnett (Centre for Myth Studies); Professor Duncan Large (Director of BCLT), and Giuseppe Sofo (“Sapienza” University, Rome) Book Launch Symposium for Translating Myth hosted by The British Centre for Literary Translation (BCLT) at The University of East Anglia
24 November Performance event with storyteller Sally Pomme Clayton The Russian Forest—the landscape of Russian fairytales with ‘Babayaga’s Daughter’
1 December Eirini Apanomeritaki Latin American mythscapes:Gabriel García Márquez’s Macondo
8 December Professor Roderick Main Mythscapes of a mind-doctor
15 December Robert W. Allen John Ruskin: Aspects of Mythscape

Programme Archive


Autumn 2015: Open Sessions

Thursdays, 12:00-1:30pm., Room 3.318

15 October Dr. Leon Burnett The Uses of Myth:‘The Witch à la Mode’
22 October Dr. Linda Jo Bartholomew A. S. Byatt’s “Sea Story”: Mythic Tale or Moral Fable?
29 October Brittany Kuhn King Minos from Antiquity to the Present
5 November Eirini Apanomeritaki Judging Beauty: Reading Apuleius and Marie Darrieussecq
12 November Jeremy Solnick The Monsters in Beowulf
19 November Prof. Roderick Main Jungian Interpretations of Merlin
26 November


Centre for Myth Studies Seminar Dr. Justine McConnell (Oxford University): “Junot Díaz and a Graeco-Caribbean Mythology”
3 December Dr. Leon Burnett Stranded on Naxos: The Ambivalence of Ariadne
10 December Dr. Ben Pestell Philomachy: Euripides’ The Trojan Women

Spring 2016: Afterlives

Thursdays, 12:00-1:30pm., Room 3.318

21 January Dr. Leon Burnett Osiris: Egyptian God of the Afterlife
28 January Jeremy Solnick Dreams of Eland: San Myth and Rock Art
4 February Mikael Bang Heaven on Earth, or Earth Made Heavenly?
11 February Joyce Tye Demeter & Persephone: A Jungian Interpretation
18 February Prof. Roderick Main C. G. Jung’s Myth of Life after Death
25 February Eirini Apanomeritaki The Sibyl’s Afterlives
3 March Dr. Anita Klujber Afterlife of Myth in Béla Bartók’s Cantata Profana
10 March Brittany Kuhn Narrating Persephone’s ‘Afterlife’
17 March

(at 5pm in Room 5N.3.9 )

Dr. Leon Burnett:

Centre for Myth Studies Open Seminar:

Reading the Strands of Ariadne’s Story

Summer 2016: Afterlives

Thursdays, 12:00-1:30pm., Room 3.318

5 May Fliss Rich Tibetan Buddhist Views of the Afterlife
12 May Dr Ben Pestell The Age of the Rainmakers by Wilson Harris
19 May Jeremy Solnick The Engaged Afterlife of Lilith
26 May no session due to industrial action
2 June Eirini Apanomeritaki Myths of the Afterlife in E. Fakinou’s The Seventh Garment
9 June Professor Roderick Main Seamus Heaney’s Aeneid Book VI
16 June Dr Anita Klujber  ‘The Myth of Er’ in Plato’s The Republic
23 June Dr Jo Harwood (Director of ESCALA)  Joint CMS/ESCALA event


Autumn 2014: Myth and Metamorphosis

Thursdays, 1-2 p.m., Room 5B.332

30 October Jeremy Solnick Jo Shapcott’s Of Mutability
6 November Dr. Pietra Palazzolo The Metamorphosis of Arachne
13 November Prof. Roderick Main Philemon and Baucis
20 November Dr. Leon Burnett Arcady: the haunt of Pan
27 November Imen Cozzo Ibrahim Alkoni: the haunt of Man-Waddan
4 December Fliss Rich Metamorphosis in Olive Schreiner’s The Story of an African Farm
11 December Brittany Kuhn Rome’s Proserpinic Transformation

Spring 2015: Myth and Metamorphosis

Thursdays, 1-2 p.m., Room 5B.332

22 January Jeremy Solnick Alice Oswald’s Tithonus
29 January Dr. Leon Burnett Eternal Bounty: Idun and her Apples
5 February Dr. Pietra Palazzolo Graham Swift’s Waterland
12 February Brittany Kuhn Transforming Hawaii
19 February Prof. Roderick Main The Spirit Mercurius
26 February no MRG session, see reading event at Norwich Castle:
5 March Eirini Apanomeritaki The Minotaur in Twentieth- Century Art and Literature
12 March Petra McQueen Re-interpreting Narcissus: John Cheever’s “The Swimmer”
19 March Fliss Rich The Sun-Bushmen of the Kalahari

Summer 2015: Myth and Emotion

Thursdays, 1-2 p.m., Room 5B.111

7 May Jeremy Solnick Kate Tempest’s Brand New Ancients
14 May Dr. Leon Burnett Marguerite Yourcenar’s “Our Lady of the Swallows”
21 May Dr. Ben Pestell Myth and Terror
28 May Brittany Kuhn The Singing River of Pascagoula
4 June Prof. Roderick Main Myth, ecstasy, and objective cognition: the mystical visions of C. G. Jung
11 June Petra  McQueen “The Father Costume”: A Dystopian Odyssey?
18 June Eirini Apanomeritaki Werewolves and the Uncanny in Angela Carter’s Short Stories
Tuesday 23 June (5pm) Joint LiFTS & Centre for Myth Studies Seminar Professor Sarah Annes Brown (Anglia Ruskin University): “Shakespeare and Myth-making”


Autumn 2013

Thursdays, 1-2 p.m., Room 5N.7.23

10 October

(5-6 pm; 5A.118)

Leon Burnett

Europa: Myth and Continent

7 November

Leon Burnett

Reading Faust

21 November

Open session

Myth and the Natural Environment

28 November

Roderick Main

Seamus Heaney’s Uses of Myth

5 December

Ben Pestell

Is Pan Dead?

12 December

Ole Wiedenmann

Heinrich Heine’s Germany. A Winter’s Tale

Spring 2014: Poets’ Myths

Thursdays, 1-2 p.m., Room 5N.7.23

16 January

Jeremy Solnick

The Death of Actaeon

30 January

Imen Cozzo

Giuseppe Ungaretti

20 February

Brittany Kuhn

Edgar Allan Poe

27 February

Ole Wiedenmann

Georg Trakl

6 March

Leon Burnett


13 March

Pietra Palazzolo

Demeter and Persephone

20 March

Ben Pestell

Fernando Pessoa

Summer 2014: Myth in Fiction

Thursdays, 1-2 p.m., Room 5B.330

8 May Leon Burnett Myth in Doris Lessing’s Briefinf for a Descent into Hell
22 May Jeremy Solnick Credo Mutwa’s uses of myth in Indaba My Children
29 May Pietra Palazzolo John Banville’s uses of myth
5 June Ben Pestell Myth in Donna Tartt’s The Secret History
12 June Leon Burnett Myth and ekphrasis in Victor Segalen’s paintings (1916)
19 June Abdul Atteh The myth of the ghoul and the desert in Arabic culture
26 June Brittany Kuhn Mythorealism in Paul Coelho’s The Alchemist

Posters for the Myth Reading Group, 2011-2014


Autumn 2012

Thursdays, 5 – 6 p.m., Room 5A.118

18 October Menelaus and Proteus Ben Pestell
25 October Journey as Quest: Quest as Question Dr Leon Burnett
1 November Pilgrimage Dr Cate Gunn
8 November Samothracian Mysteries Ole Wiedenmann
15 November Pilgrimage and perambulation Jeremy Solnick
PLUS, after the meeting, FILM: The Tree Of Life. 7 p.m. in LTB 10, in conjunction with the Centre for Film Studies
22 November Response to The Tree of Life Dr John Cant
6 December The Birth of Athena: Symbol, Myth, and Synchronicity Professor Roderick Main
13 December Chinese Creation Myths You Xiao

Spring 2013: Creation Myths

Thursdays, 5 – 6 p.m., Room 5A.118

17 January Norse Creation Myth Dr Leon Burnett
24 January Ancient Greek Creation Myth Ben Pestell
31 January Zulu Creation Myth Jeremy Solnick
14 February Aphrodite and Arodaphnousa in Cyprus Stefanie Savva
21 February Khepri the Ancient Egyptian Scarab Deity Professor Roderick Main
28 February Scriabin – Music as Myth
In Music Room B
Matthew Boyle
14 March Myths of the Political Origins of the USA Dr John Cant

Summer 2013

Thursdays, 5 – 6 p.m., Room 5A.118

See Home page for the latest news and texts.

2 May Orpheus returns Dr Leon Burnett
16 May Prometheus –––
6 June The Unique and the Usual: Orcadian Folklore Lydia Crow


Autumn 2011: Sacrifice in myth and religion

Tuesdays, 5 – 6 p.m., Room 5A.330

25 October Making Sacred Dr Leon Burnett
1 November Eucharist Dr Cate Gunn
8 November Maya Self-sacrifice Suzanne Nolan
15 November Isaac versus Iphigeneia Ben Pestell
22 November Sacrifice in Islam Abdul Atteh
29 November Child Sacrifice and Flaubert’s Salammbô Dr Leon Burnett
6 December Sacrifice in the Hindu Tradition Kopal Gautam
13 December Inanna’s descent to the underworld Marie-Louise Mederer

Spring 2012
Crossing Over : Myths of the afterlife ; afterlives of myth

Tuesdays, 5 – 6 p.m., Room 5B.330

17 January Persephone – Extraordinary Renditions: To Hell and Back Leon Burnett
24 January Baal’s Journey to the Underworld Anat Vernitski
31 January Reflections on the underworld _____
7 February Greek and Biblical Myths in Eastern German Literature Ole Wiedenmann
14 February The Helmet of Horror Alexei Vernitski
21 February Agamemnon’s Front Door Ben Pestell
28 February Jung’s Night Sea Journey Roderick Main
6 March The Golem – Creating the Human Facsimile: Tellings and retellings of the myth Jeremy Solnick
13 March Visions of the land of the dead Cate Gunn
20 March The End of the World – appropriations of Maya predictions Suzanne Nolan

Summer 2012

Tuesdays, 5 – 6 p.m., Room 5A.330 (unless stated otherwise)

1 May The Death of Orpheus (Ovid’s Metamorphoses)
8 May The Orpheus Project
(6 p.m. start)
Lyndon Davies and
Penny Hallas
15 May Denise Levertov’s Orpheus Leon Burnett
22 May Further Orpheus poems
29 May Telipinu: Vanishing and reappearing Hittite gods Ole Wiedenmann


Autumn 2010
12 October The Oar Ben Pestell
19 October The Epic of Gilgamesh –––
26 October Retellings Saul Andreetti
2 November The Horse Dr Leon Burnett
9 November Beowulf –––
16 November Genesis –––
23 November The Wisdom of Solomon –––
30 November The Wave Tony Wood
7 December Devils Dr Cate Gunn
14 December Snakes Marie-Louise Mederer
Spring 2011
18 January Winter Dr Leon Burnett
25 January Yeats –––
1 February Tree of Life: Sacred Groves, Golden Boughs Ben Pestell
8 February Tree of Life: Odin and the Ordinary Dr Leon Burnett
15 February Tree of Life: Dream of the Rood Dr Cate Gunn
22 February Tree of Life: Tolkien and Trees Tony Wood
1 March Tree of Life: Mann Dr Leon Burnett
8 March Tree of Life: Wildwood Dr Cate Gunn
15 March Tree of Life: Plutarch Dr Leon Burnett
Summer 2011
3 May Sukunahikona Professor Kiyoshi Hamano (Kyoto Bunkyo University)
10 May Ragnarök Alice Downer
24 May Some characteristics of Celtic mythology Professor Roderick Main
7 June The Story of Kawa and Newroz Abdul Atteh
14 June Popul Vuh Suzanne Nolan
21 June The Raven and the First Men Dr Susan Oliver
28 June Jinn in Islamic myth Sharihan Al-Akhras


Spring 2010
2 March Underworld Matt Boyle
9 March Mysticism (Hermes Trismegistus) Philippe Dauphin
16 March Music –––
23 March Homecomings Ben Pestell
Summer 2010
4 May Bhagavad Gita Kopal Gautam
18 May Trees Dr Deirdre Serjeantson
1 June Transformation Saul Andreetti
15 June The Garden Rowena Clarke

3 Responses to Current Programme

  1. Pingback: Call for Proposals: Afterlives | Essex Myth

  2. Pingback: Call for Proposals: Journeys | Essex Myth

  3. Pingback: Forthcoming talks and lectures: Glasgow, Kalamazoo, Essex, Oxford and North Wales |

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