Course title:

Literature and Mythology


Tutor: Atanas Manchorov, Ph.D.


Mode of delivery: seminars

Course place and status within the program

Plovdiv University, an optional course

Competence expectations


Students acquire knowledge by studying some key literary texts that refer to ancient mythology. Upon successful completion of this course, students will be able to:


1. Read and discuss representative literary texts clearly imbued with myth.

2. Describe the interaction between myth and literature in Western tradition.

3. Use literary and historical data as evidence for their position.

4. Summarize and cite primary sources in making arguments.

5. Use library and electronic resources to develop essay questions in the field.


Aims and objectives of the course


This course offers insight into a number of dimensions of myth: cultural, literary, historical, religious, etc. As the approaches adopted for the study of myth in literature stem from a broad range of disciplines (anthropology, history, literary studies, etc.). we will discuss the interaction of myth and literature and the impact of this interaction on culture. Accordingly, this course has the following aims and objectives:


Personal: identify the types of ancient world myth

explain the all-encompassing nature of ancient myth

show the relationship between myth and each area of culture

improved insight into the use of myth in literature

critical thinking (analysis, critique, problem-solving)

knowledge of the foundational myths of Western civilization

self-control skills (self-discipline, time-keeping, and planning)


Interactive: team-working, communication skills


Weekly organization of topics & reading assignments



1. Introduction.

2. The Myth of the Poet in Western Literature: Orpheus and Eurydice and Sir Orfeo.

3. The Myth of the Trojan War – Post-Homeric Mythological Contexts: Medieval and Renaissance Versions of Troilus and Cressida.

4. Milton's Paradise Lost as Myth: The Fall of Man and Satan's Rebellion.

5. Prometheus the Fire-giver: P. B. Shelley's Prometheus Unbound and Mary Shelly's Frankenstein.

6. Ancient Travelogs and Modernist Literature: Homer's Odyssey and Joyce's Ulysses.

7. Reflections – Mythological and Archetypal Approaches.


Course requirements


1. Attendance. Attendance is mandatory. For the fourth and each subsequent unexcused absence, the final average will be lowered by 1 point. The options listed below are considered acceptable reasons for excused absences:

  • serious illness;

  • illness or death of family member;

  • university-related trips;

  • major religious holidays;

  • other circumstances you find to be reasonable cause for nonattendance.

2. Make-up opportunity. When there is an excused absence, students must be given the opportunity to make up missed work and/or exams. It is the student's responsibility to inform the instructor of the absence preferably in advance, but no later than one week after it.

3. Classroom behavior, Decorum, and Civility. Acts of classroom incivility will not be tolerated. Students are expected to be polite and respectful while attending the course of lectures or participating in class discussions.

4. Academic integrity. Plagiarism and cheating will not be tolerated, and those suspected of academic dishonesty will face disciplinary proceedings in accordance with published Plovdiv University guidelines.

5. Final exam. Each student must complete an individual course project – an essay on a topic addressing (an) author(s) and work(s) from the list of lectures. The research paper has to seek support from authoritative sources, say 5 to 7 (or more if needed), and should identify all the sources the student has quoted, paraphrased, or referred to. As for the technicalities, the paper should satisfy the following requirements: names and faculty number of the student; it should be 5-6 pages long (font – Times New Roman 12pt, characters with spaces – 9,000-10,800); it should have an introduction with a clear thesis statement (one or two short to medium-length sentences) in bold type; a works cited list in MLA format.


Mode of assessment


Type of assessment: final exam (term paper);

also important are attendance and participation.


Grading policy:




Requirement Points







70 %



Total 100 %




I. Anthologies


Abrams, M. H., and Stephen Greenblat, eds. The Norton Anthology of English Literature: The Middle Ages through the Restoration and the Eighteenth Century. Vol. 1. New York: Norton, 1986.

Costello, Jacqueline, and Amy Tucker, eds. Forms of Literature: A Writer's Collection. New York: Random, 1989.

Hollander, John, and Frank Kermode, eds. The Literature of Renaissance England. New York: Oxford UP, 1973.

Wilkie, Brian, and James Hurt, eds. Literature of the Western World. Vol. 1. New York: Macmillan, 1988.


II. Surveys of English Literature and Mythology


Campbell, Joseph, and Bill Moyers. The Power of the Myth. Ed. Betty Sue Flowers. New York: Anchor Books, 1988.

Coupe, Laurence. Myth. 2nd ed. Abingdon: Routledge, 1997. Print.

Ford, Boris, ed. The New Pelican Guide to English Literature. Vols. 1-4. London: Penguin, 1982.

Ford, Boris, ed. The Pelican Guide to English Literature. Vols. 1-4. London: Penguin, 1977.

Gayley, Chalres Mills. The Classic Myths in English Literature and in Art. Boston: Ginn and Company, 1911.

Guerin, Wilfred L., et al. A Handbook of Critical Approaches to Literature. 3d ed. New York: Oxford UP, 1992.

Miles, Geoffrey, ed. Classical Mythology in English Literature: A Critical Anthology. London: Routledge, 1999.

Quennell, Peter, and H. Johnson, eds. A History of English Literature. London: Oxley, 1973.

Ricks, Christopher, ed. A History of Literature in the English Language. 3 vols. London: Sphere, 1970.

Spence, Lewis. Introduction to Mythology. New York: Cosimo Classics, 2005.

Vickery, John B., ed. Myth and Literature: Contemporary Theory and Practice. Lincoln: U of Nebraska P, 1966.


III. Companions, Handbooks, and Dictionaries


Cuddon, J. A., ed. The Penguin Dictionary of Literary Terms and Literary Theory. London: Penguin, 1991.

Drabble, Margaret, ed. The Oxford Companion of English Literature. 6th ed. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2000.

Harvey, Sir Paul, ed. The Oxford Companion to English Literature. Oxford: Clarendon P, 1981.

Ousby, Ian, ed. The Cambridge Guide to Literature in English. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1993.

Stringer, Jenny, ed. The Oxford Companion to Twentieth-Century Literature in English. Oxford: Oxford UP, 1996.

Wynne-Davis, Marione, ed. The Bloomsbury Guide to English Literature. London: Bloomsbury, 1989.


IV. Bibliographies


Watson, George, ed. The New Cambridge Bibliography of English Literature. Vol. 1, 600-1660. London: Cambridge UP, 1974.

Howard-Hill, T. H. Bibliography of British Literary Bibliographies. 2nd ed. Vol. 1. London: Oxford UP, 1988.

Kirkpatrick, D. L., ed. Reference Guide to English Literature. Detroit: St. James P, 1991.