Spring 2009

Medea: Metamorphoses of a Myth

Listed in: European Studies, as EUST-26  |  Women's and Gender Studies, as WAGS-14


Christian Rogowski (Section 01)


(Also Women and Gender Studies 14.) Beginning with Euripides’ tragedy, Medea has continued to occupy the European mind mainly in dramatic treatments by male authors (Seneca, Corneille, Grillparzer, Anouilh, and Heiner Müller). As multiple “outsider”-- woman, foreigner, sorceress, demi-goddess, abandoned wife--Medea embodies “otherness” in manifold ways: she is the representative of the conflict between barbarism and civilization, between the supernatural and the natural, the magical and the commonsensical, madness and reason. Recently, women authors like Christa Wolf have entered the debate, aiming to reclaim Medea as one of the repressed voices of femininity. Our approach will be interdisciplinary in nature: in addition to reading dramatic texts and background material, we will explore the transformations of the Medea myth in the European tradition in the fine arts (Vanloo, Delacroix, Anselm Feuerbach), in dance (Martha Graham, the Bolshoi Ballet), sample the operas of Cherubini and Charpentier, and view the films by Pasolini, Ula Stöckl, and Lars von Trier, as well as priceless B-movie masterpiece, Don Chaffey’s Jason and the Argonauts. Readings will be in English. Students who know any of the foreign languages represented are encouraged to read the material in the original. Limited to 25 students. Spring semester. Professor Rogowski.