In this course we consider stories in which 'a journey into the underworld' (Ancient Greek katabasis) is closely linked to 'an encounter with the dead' (nekyia). Each variation on that ancient theme is a new way of asking, How might art help us respond to the fact of death? Centering our study on the influential depiction of the underworld in Virgil's Aeneid, we examine a wide range of authors including Homer (Odyssey), Plato ('The Myth of Er'), Aristophanes (The Frogs), Ovid (Metamorphoses); Dante (Inferno), Shakespeare (The Tempest), Jules Verne (Journey to the Center of the Earth), Lewis Carroll (Alice's Adventures in Wonderland); J. R. R. Tolkien (The Hobbit), Louise Glück (Averno), Yuri Herrera (Signs Preceding the End of the World), Rita Indiana (Tentacle); and the nameless author of the 'Epic of Gilgamesh.' Linked film screenings.
Approaches to Creation and Analysis | The Humanities
The Interdisciplinary Clusters | Death and Beyond
The Capacities | Historical Perspectives