Please note: there may be some adjustments to the teaching arrangements published in the course catalogue for 2020-21. Given current circumstances related to the Covid-19 pandemic it is anticipated that some usual arrangements for teaching on campus will be modified to ensure the safety and wellbeing of students and staff on campus; further adjustments may also be necessary, or beneficial, during the course of the academic year as national requirements relating to management of the pandemic are revised.

Early Modern Mythmaking ENGLIT5100

  • Academic Session: 2020-21
  • School: School of Critical Studies
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 5 (SCQF level 11)
  • Typically Offered: Either Semester 1 or Semester 2
  • Available to Visiting Students: No
  • Available to Erasmus Students: No

Short Description

This course introduces students to the various ways in which classical mythology was absorbed and rewritten in the English literature of the medieval and early modern period. Students will study translations and looser adaptations of myths gleaned from authors such as Homer, Ovid, Virgil and Seneca, and will explore how and why their myths were rewritten for different audiences (e.g. for men and women) and across diverse forms of English literature (poetry, drama, prose).


2 hour seminar, weekly across 10 weeks

Requirements of Entry

"Standard entry to Masters at College level".

Excluded Courses





One mid-term essay (20%) 1,000 words OR one ten minute oral presentation (20%)


One end of term essay (80%) 4,000 words

Course Aims

This course aims to:

- Introduce students to key debates about translation and use of the classics in the period.

- Expose them to a wide range of translations and adaptations from various classical authors, and across a range of English genres. 

- Explore the treatment of certain key myths (e.g. the Troy story) to help develop student's independent research interests.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

By the end of this course students will be able to:

- Reflect critically on the place of classical mythology in the literature of the medieval and/or early modern period.  

- Identify, develop, and defend a distinct research area/interest related to the medieval and/or early modern adaptation of myth.

- Write clearly, concisely, and with apposite historical and literary judgement on a range of primary texts.

-Be able to communicate their ideas effectively and succinctly to their peers.

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

Students must submit at least 75% by weight of the components (including examinations) of the course's summative assessment.