English 170

Literature and the Arts: Metamorphoses

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
1 Spring 2021 Hanson, Kristin
TTh 3:30-5

Book List

Ovid, trans. by Raeburn, D.: Metamorphoses: A New Verse Translation

Other Readings and Media

Literature in English that will be available on bCourses:  W. Shakespeare, “Venus and Adonis”; J. Dryden, “The Transformation of Daphne into a Lawrell”, A. Marvell, “The Garden”, A. Fulton, “Give: A Sequence Reimagining Daphne and Apollo”; W. Morris, “Pygmalion and the Image” from The Earthly Paradise, G.B. Shaw, Pygmalion

Images of paintings and sculptures that will be available via links on bCourses to galleries’ collections:  Titian, “Venus and Adonis”; G. Bernini, “Apollo and Daphne”; P. Pollaiuolo, “Apollo and Daphne”, G. Tiepolo, “Apollo and Daphne”, G. Klimt, “The Kiss”; J.-L. Gérôme, “Pygmalion and Galatea”; E. Burne-Jones, “Pygmalion and the Image”

Operas that should be purchased as CDs unless they are found in alternative formats that include the libretto: J. Blow, Venus and Adonis; G.F. Handel, Apollo e Dafne; E. Sutherland, Daphne and Apollo Remade; G. Donizetti, Il Pigmalione


This course will explore literature through comparisons with other arts. We will focus on a few stories from Ovid’s Metamorphoses that have inspired transmutations into English literature and also into paintings, sculptures, and operas across different periods, and ask how the fact that the medium of literature is language seems to affect what is or can be done with the stories, compared with what is or can be done with them in these other arts.  The stories we will consider in class will include those of Venus and Adonis, Apollo and Daphne, and Pygmalion; students’ final papers may address any story from Metamorphoses that affords a comparison between a version in English literature and one in another art.

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