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GR6: Myth Matters: Receptions of mythology in Modern Greek literature and culture


This paper is available for the academic year 2017-18

This paper has two components: Language and Literature.


Students will be expected to read the literature texts in the original language. The paper therefore contains an important linguistic element. General language teaching will be offered with a focus on comprehension and translation skills. The option of two levels of proficiency will be available. The higher level is intended for students who have previously taken Gr.3 or have acquired a similar level of competence in Modern Greek. The aim is to help the student develop a knowledge and understanding of the linguistic features of the Modern Greek language and to become a fairly confident reader in a range of texts at basic or advanced intermediate level.

In the first two terms, language classes will concentrate on the essentials of grammar for the basic level, while for the advanced intermediate level classes will build on the grammar base already acquired in previous studies but will mostly concentrate on language use. In the Easter Term the emphasis will be on translation from Greek.


Myth has shown a remarkable capacity to evolve throughout the ages and adapt to the intellectual and aesthetic requirements of different periods. Western European Literature is permeated by Classical Greek myths. It is well known that during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries in particular, with the advances in science, the industrialization of society and the decline in religious faith, writers explored and re-interpreted these myths in order to offer modern approaches to the inherited past, time, history, humanity’s yearning for order and individual and national identity.

The exploration of how Classical Greek myths have been adopted and reworked in Modern Greek literature and culture is a case in point because it offers students the opportunity to discover how Greek literature and culture have interacted with and creatively assimilated other European traditions. More importantly, however, it allows students to reflect on what happens when myths return to their ‘birthplace’: does their use in Modern Greek literature offer a different, alternative paradigm of reception and creative assimilation?

Please click here to view the latest information leaflet for Paper Gr.6 Myth Matters 2017 - 2018


The language element of the paper is described above.

The literature element of the paper will examine the reception, re-writing and re-evaluation of well known myths such as those of Odysseus, Penelope, Elpenor, Persephone, Helen and Orpheus based on a core of Modern Greek poems, novels and films. It will address all or some of the following questions:

  • What can the selection of a particular myth tell us about the writer or director and their artistic agenda?
  • What happens when myths are retold by women?
  • What is the importance of the choice and showcasing of female mythical figures?
  • What can the myths and their re-telling tell us about fundamental aspects of human nature and experience?
  • What makes the Greek paradigm a case in point?
Preparatory reading: 

Literature: A full reading list for the literature element of the paper will be available on Moodle soon.


The textbook and exercise book can be borrowed from the Modern Greek Section office on payment of a £30 refundable deposit.

D. Dimitra & M. Papacheimona, Ελληνικά Τώρα 2 + 2 (Nostos, 5th ed. Athens 2002).

Recommended additional material

  • K. Arvanitakis & F. Arvanitaki, Communicate in Greek 2 and 3  (textbook and workbook) (Deltos Publishing, 2002).
  • D.N. Stavropoulos, Oxford Greek-English Learner's Dictionary (Oxford University Press, 1988.
  • D.N. Stavropoulos & A.S. Hornby, Oxford English-Greek Learner's Dictionary (Oxford University Press, 1977).
  • D. Holton, P. Mackridge & I. Philippaki-Warburton, Greek: An essential grammar of the modern language (Routledge, 2004).
  • E. Gareli, E. Kapoula & M. Montzoli, Ταξίδι στην Ελλάδα, Νέα Ελληνικά για Ξένους. (Levels B1 and B2).  (Grigoris Publishing, 2013). 


Teaching and learning: 

Language: 2 hours of language classes per week, all three terms.

Literature: 16 lectures in the Michaelmas and Lent terms. The standard number of supervisions will be offered (3+3+2).

For the Gr.6 Moodle site, please see here. The password can be collected from the paper coordinator.


Assessment will be by 3-hour written exam. The paper may not be taken by Optional Dissertation.

Course Contacts: 
Dr Liana Giannakopoulou
Dr Regina Karousou-Fokas