Don't you just love these four day weekends!
I've managed to write the first draft of my End of Module Assessment (EMA) for my Open University course on Myth in the Greek and Roman Worlds. I'm writing about how the figure of Pygmalion has developed in some 19th & 20th century poems and paintings to express contemporary social concerns (treatment of women mainly). It's just editing to do now!
The course has been interesting, I think, but I'm not sure it was quite what I expected. I chose it because I wanted to learn about lots of myths, mainly because they have quite a big influence of many of the authors and literature I have been/will be studying but the number of myths we have studied has been fairly limited (although perhaps it's my fault for not spending enough time studying?).
I was, however, fascinated by the mix of myth and 'science' in Greek medicine - have a look at these pages from the Science Museum to give you an idea about the temple at Epidaurus. Whilst you slept at the temple it was believed that snakes would come & heal you or a god might come to you in a dream and tell you how you needed to change your ways. 'Doctors' at this time were very into purging so you can see this 'faith healing' would probably prove far more attractive to people.
Of course I digress. If you think this blog is worth returning to you'll learn I have quite the butterfly mind! Writing about Pygmalion was very apt this weekend when we had the Royal Wedding and Kate Middleton being transformed from peasant to Princess. Because of the magical powers we believe the dress has in this process I guess Sarah Burton (dress designer) was a bit of a Pygmalion in the process. For the record I liked the dress and (probably more controversially) liked the trees in the Abbey. It would have been nice to see all the flowers on the Saturday but £16 each was a bit much in my pre-pauper state!
The other thing I have accomplished (?) this weekend is to read Living Dead in Dallas and part of Club Dead. They're part of the Southern Vampire Murder Mysteries written by Charlaine Harris. A friend at work introduced me to True Blood a few weeks ago and I am hooked. I don't know if I enjoy it but I really am intrigued by the stories and the world. If you don't know it: Vampires were able to come 'out of the coffin' because of the invention of True-Blood, a synthetic blood product, and Sookie Stackhouse the heroine has become involved in their world. There's a lot of swearing and sex/nudity and some violence so it's probably not for everyone but it's not too horrific (it can't be, I couldn't read Dracula for my 19th Century Novel course - Buffy is about my level).
The books are different from the TV series: a lot less swearing and the sex is obviously less graphic. Characters change as well - some become more important on TV such as Tara, Jason and Lafayette and plot lines, whilst loosely based on the books contain elements from elsewhere. They're a good, easy read and although I have to move onto something more 'literary' after Club Dead, I will return to the rest of the series.
I start my 'The Modern American Novel' course this week with Oxford University Continuing Education. This is my fourth course with them, they last for 10 weeks and it's a good way to read and think about some new books and some old favourites. I need to re-read The Great Gatsby this week ready for Week 2 of the course. Gatsby is an old friend (wow, that sounds pretentious) as I'm sure it is for many of you. I love the sense of doom that pervades the book and the mystery of Gatsby himself. (The fact that Robert Redford played the part doesn't hurt either) I've never studied the book before tho' so I'm interested in the new insights I get from really paying attention to it. I'll let you know how it goes.
If you read this please let me know what you think. Is it too long? Too many links?
Thanks for taking the time.