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Cover

Classical Myth and Film in the New Millennium

Patricia Salzman-Mitchell and Jean Alvares

Publication Date - January 2017

ISBN: 9780190204167

432 pages
Paperback
7-1/2 x 9-1/4 inches

Retail Price to Students: $44.99

Classical Myth and Film in the New Millennium helps students better understand myth as a living process by examining key films that demonstrate themes and archetypes from Greek and Roman mythology

Description

Offering unique and in-depth discussions of films that have been released since 2000, Classical Myth and Film in the New Millennium uses various modern approaches--ranging from myth criticism to psychology and gender studies--to analyze popular movies that make use of themes and stories from Greek and Roman mythology, including Troy, The Hunger Games, Pan's Labyrinth, and Clash of the Titans.

FEATURES

* Provides a critical analysis of thirteen movies, exploring the themes, characters, and plots that arise from Greek and Roman mythology and also from other Western and contemporary traditions

* Covers films that today's students may already be familiar with and enjoy, resulting in a relevant and interesting text

* Addresses themes central to the new millennium: the environment, the perils of materialism and excessive consumerism, gender oppression and equality, broken families, and the constant threat of violence

* Organizes films into five thematic parts--Homeric Echoes, The Reluctant Hero, Women in the Margins, Coming of Age in the New Millennium, and New Versions of Pygmalion--that provide an interpretive framework for examining archetypes

* A substantial general Introduction provides a foundation for studying myth and film, and each part includes an introduction and discussion questions

Features

  • Provides a critical analysis of thirteen movies, exploring the themes, characters, and plots that arise from Greek and Roman mythology and also from other Western and contemporary traditions
  • Covers films that today's students may already be familiar with and enjoy, resulting in a relevant and interesting text
  • Addresses themes central to the new millennium: the environment, the perils of materialism and excessive consumerism, gender oppression and equality, broken families, and the constant threat of violence
  • Organizes films into five thematic parts-Homeric Echoes, The Reluctant Hero, Women on the Margins, Coming of Age in the New Millennium, and New Versions of Pygmalion-that provide an interpretive framework for examining archetypes
  • A substantial general Introduction provides a foundation for studying myth and film, and each part includes an introduction and discussion questions

About the Author(s)

Patricia Salzman-Mitchell is Professor of Classics and General Humanities at Montclair State University.

Jean Alvares is Associate Professor of Classics and General Humanities at Montclair State University.

Reviews

"A vast and exciting field stretches before scholars and instructors who engage with the question of why the material that we have come to cherish and steward professionally continues to fascinate and delight audiences with no skin in the game of classics-but who may yet be induced to appreciate how their current fandom for Percy Jackson constitutes their participation in the classical tradition. Classical Myth and Film in the New Millennium embraces that project wholeheartedly." --Meredith E. Safran, Bryn Mawr Classical Review

"This is the first book devoted exclusively to the cinematic reception of Greek mythology in the new millennium. Using theoretical approaches from structural analysis to psychoanalysis to feminist criticism, the book offers several lenses through which to understand the selected films, which range from epic films, including Troy and The Hunger Games, to lesser-known independent movies, like Ruby Sparks and the Mexican film Such Is Life. The book's detailed discussions of the films and the myths to which they respond are comprehensive enough for use as the stand-alone textbook in a course on classics and film, while individual sections and chapters could be excerpted to supplement modules for a myth course."--Emma Scioli, University of Kansas

"Salzman and Alvares bring original and lively insights to bear on both the myths and the movies they have selected for scrutiny in this wide-ranging book about classical motifs, texts, heroes, and monsters at the cinema. There are some controversial readings along the way, as is to be expected in any work of stimulating scholarship, and the authors have provided interesting questions for their readers at the end of each chapter, so no one has to be a passive consumer of this book! It can proudly take its place in the ever-growing collection of teaching and research volumes on the reception of classical myth in the modern media."--Paula James, Open University

Table of Contents

    Acknowledgments
    INTRODUCTION: CLASSICAL MYTH AND FILM IN THE NEW MILLENNIUM
    Why We Are Here and What We Are Doing
    Re-presenting the Past
    Classics and Film
    Myth Theories, Structures of Meaning, and Archetypes
    The Three Categories of Myth: Myth and Truth
    Myth, Structure, and Archetype
    Myth, Structure, and Psychology
    Gender, Otherness, and Myth Interpretation
    Some Overarching Narrative and Symbolic Structures
    Titans vs. Olympians: Creation and Succession Myths
    The Hero and the Components of the Hero's Career
    What Is Myth Good For?
    References
    PART I: HOMERIC ECHOES
    Introduction: "Sing, Oh Muse!" Homeric Echoes, Modern Issues in Millennial Films
    Chapter 1. Petersen's Troy: Reimagining Homeric Heroes
    The Matter of Troy
    History Mythologized
    No Gods, Just Heroes
    Achilles: Life, Death, Passion, and Glory
    Briseis: Eros and Thanatos
    Hector: For Family and Motherland
    Paris: When Love Is Not Enough
    Heroes at the End
    Troy and the Millennium
    References
    Chapter 2. Resinging the Odyssey: Myth and Myth Making in O Brother, Where Art Thou?
    Odysseus' Journey and O Brother
    Real and Mythologized History: American Myth and Cinema
    Sing O Muse! The Power of Song
    Odysseus Rebooted
    Everett's Odyssey
    Escape and Descent
    The Recovery of Music
    Descending Deeper
    Hitting Rock Bottom
    The Ascent Upwards Begins
    The Suitor Defeated, an Evil Purged
    The Test and Death Struggle
    The Happy Ending and Looking Forward
    Ideal Dimensions in Regressive Times: Public Benefit, Community, and Individual Redemption
    References
    Discussion Questions for Part I
    PART II: THE RELUCTANT HERO
    Introduction: Hercules, The Clash of the Titans/Wrath of the Titans, and Immortals: The Fate of Humans, The Fate of the Gods
    Chapter 3. What's Old Is Newish Again: Hercules
    Heracles, the Hero, and His Canonical Career
    Hercules/Heracles and the Sword-and-Sandals or Peplum Movie
    Heracles/Hercules in the Movies
    Our Hercules: Archetypal Patterns, Myth into Truth, Truth into Myth, and the Need for a Hero
    Archetypal Patterns and the Mythical Arc
    Fate, Prophecy, and the Final Confirmation of Identities
    The Call of the Military, the Logic of Empire
    Hercules the Mythical and the Reshaped Hero: A Movie for the Millennium
    References
    Chapter 4. Clash of the Titans/Wrath of the Titans: Altered Prototypes and Aeschylean, Wagnerian Dimensions
    The Prelude: Clash of the Titans I
    The Archetypes and Themes: Creation to Apocalypse
    Clash of the Titans: Perseus' Tragic Beginning
    The Quest for Medusa
    Perseus, the Kraken, and Andromeda: The Apparent First Ending--Perseus Gets Io
    Wrath of the Titans: Heroism Rejected, the Death of the Gods Begins
    Agenor and the Search for the Fallen One
    The Labyrinth of Tartarus and the Hero's Ordeal
    Perseus and the Second Titanomachy
    The End of the Gods, a Reconciliation, a New Beginning
    Clash/Wrath: Two Movies for the Millennium
    References
    Chapter 5. Theseus in Immortals: An Ideal Hero for a Rough Age
    Titans and Olympians
    Theseus the Hero in Classical Myth
    Hyperion
    Theseus' Beginnings in Immortals
    "It must be his choice"
    Bearing the Cross, Rescued by the Mystic Lady of Sorrow, Hope Regained
    At the Heart of the Labyrinth; Burial and Rebirth
    Prelude to an Armageddon
    The Struggle for Life, Death, Memory, and History Begins
    Victory, Apotheosis, and the Future
    The Millennium and the Dream of the Moral and Divine
    References
    Discussion Questions for Part II
    PART III: WOMEN IN THE MARGINS
    Introduction: Mythical Women in the Margins
    Chapter 6. Blooming Maiden and Fertile Goddess: The Myths of Pan's Labyrinth
    The Spanish Civil War and Films of Resistance: Rebirth After War
    A Quest for Rebirth
    The World Below, the World Above
    Faunus
    Forests and Magical Woodlands
    Blood, Slime, Sexuality, and Life
    Demeter-Persephone
    The Child-Killing King of Death
    Blood, Sacrifice, Birth, and Rebirth
    Under the Moon
    Pan's Labyrinth and the Millennium
    References
    Chapter 7. The Perils of Oppression: The Myth of Medea in Arturo Ripstein's Such Is Life
    Myths of Medea
    Medea in the Movies
    Ripstein and His Cinema
    Of Love, Marriage, and Ira
    The Exile, the Witch, the Lost Wife
    New Millennium, New Beginnings
    References
    Discussion Questions for Part III
    PART IV: COMING OF AGE IN THE NEW MILLENNIUM
    Introduction: Growing up in a Different World
    Chapter 8. Gaze, Knowledge, Snakes, and Riddles: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets as Foundation Myth
    Gods, Titans, and Giants
    Serpents, Beginnings, and Deadly Gazes
    Perseus, Harry, Mycenae, and Medusa's Gaze
    The Hero and His Attributes
    The Hero's Descent
    A Dangerous "Book of the Dead"
    The Damsel in Distress
    Thebes and the Sins of the Past
    Vision and Darkness
    The Hero as Exile and Survivor
    Oedipal Complexities
    Harry Potter and the New Millennium
    References
    Chapter 9. Arrows, Roots, Bread, and Song: Mythical Aspects of The Hunger Games
    Primeval Battles and Their Aftermath
    A World of Contrasts
    Maidenhood and the Hunt
    Katniss Kourotrophos
    Katniss and the Earth
    The Bread of Life
    Katniss and the Coming of Age
    Echoes of War at the New Millennium
    References
    Chapter 10. Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief, an American Parody of the Hero's Journey
    Parody and the Parodic Journey
    The Magical Child and the Problematic Parent
    The Hero
    The Quest
    Call to Adventure
    A New World
    The Jersey Gorgon
    American Athena
    Millennial Lotus Eaters
    Abandon All Hope, Ye Who Enter the Hollywood Hills
    Gods and Demigods: The Return Home
    Myth Makes the Millennium
    References
    Discussion Questions for Part IV
    PART V: NEW VERSIONS OF PYGMALION
    Introduction: New and Old Pygmalions
    Chapter 11. Lars and the Real Girl and the Pygmalion Myth: Trauma, Community, and Desire
    Ovid's Pygmalion Myth: Three Themes
    Pygmalion and Trauma
    Pygmalion and the Word of the Father
    Pygmalion as (Tragic) Hero-Protagonist
    What About Galatea?
    The Role of the Community
    Lars and the Real Girl: Lars Creates His Bianca
    Lars's Trauma and Bianca
    Dr. Dagmar, the Community, and the Healing of Lars
    Lars Begins to Heal
    Lars and the Death of Bianca
    Conclusions: Lessons from Lars
    References
    Chapter 12. Ruby Sparks: Rereading Pygmalion and Narcissus
    The Coming-of-Age and Hero's-Journey Paradigm
    Woman as Text
    Reflections in the Pool: Calvin's Narcissism
    The Artist's Isolation
    Not-So-Ideal Women
    Resisting Readings
    Ruby Wakes Up
    Happy Ending?
    Ruby Sparks as a Movie for Our Time
    References
    Discussion Questions for Part V
    Epilogue: Myths and Movies, Movies and Myths

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