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Writer as Reader Workshops

Workshop is filled/accepting registrations on a waiting list only basis. Mythic Images in Modern Times: The Metamorphosis of Ovid’s Metamorphoses

November 1, 2013

Ovid’s Metamorphoses, a 1st century poetic treatment of more than 250 myths, has enjoyed more translations, retellings, adaptations, and direct allusions in Western art and literature than any other text save the Old Testament Bible. Such historical persistence says something about both the power of Ovid’s own storytelling and the tenacity of mythic images to transmit through time. This workshop explores classroom strategies that promote a deeper grasp of the lasting influence and cultural relevance of Ovid’s mythological narratives. We will apply core writing-to-learn and writing-to-read practices to provoke discovery and facilitate a range of strategies for bridging the distance between this rich ancient source and our students’ 21st century lives. We will narrow our focus through close reading, expand our understanding by posing interpretive questions, and broaden our appreciation by exploring select adaptations of the text.

 Through direct engagement with the primary text and in conversation with a few of its contemporary counterparts, we will explore how Ovid’s themes and structures have endured through centuries of retelling and still manage to resonate for contemporary audiences. Can this distinct familiarity and relevance be attributed merely to a cultural baton pass? Or is there something deeper and essential about the images and structures that hold Ovid’s tapestry of tales together? And can his central preoccupation, the very act of transformation itself, be explored as a key to appreciating the continued interest, influence, and inspiration of Greek and Roman myths throughout Western culture?  

 Possible adaptations for our inquiry include Anaïs Mitchell’s folk opera Hadestown, H.D.’s poem “Eurydice,” and scenes from Marcel Camus’ film Black Orpheus.

Texts: The Metamorphoses of Ovid, trans. Allen Mandelbaum (Harcourt, Inc. 1993)

Workshop fee: $200 (includes morning coffee, lunch, and 
workshop materials)