Myth and Literature
Myths have been called stories in which people find their most important meanings. The overwhelmingly favorable response to the legendary PBS television interviews of Joseph Campbell by Bill Moyers and the book that transcribes that series represent one obvious demonstration of the cry for myth, this profound need to search for meaning and significance in the patterns of great stories from world mythology. Are you interested in reading and discussing how myths can suggest deep truths within us? Do you want to explore the relationship between myth and literature? How modern shaman or artists can extract the essence from modern life to help us reconnect to the hero or shero journey within us? If any or all of these questions interest you, an opportunity for exploration awaits you. The readings of this series move across continents and time, challenging us to reflect on whether we play the roles our society seems to demand or leave the village compound to quest symbolically into the forest and follow our intuition in order to live interesting lives. If you want to be an active partner in this exploration, please join us for this “Let’s Talk About It, Oklahoma” reading and discussion series. Books are available for those who want to partner with us actively and be present throughout the series.
Oklahoma City University invites participants to make these books come alive in the readings of this five-part series. At each session, a Humanities scholar will make a 30-40 minute presentation on the book in the context of the theme. Small group discussion will follow with experienced discussion leaders. At the end, everyone will come together for a brief wrap-up. Anyone interested in participating by attending the sessions is encouraged to pre-register and borrow the reading selections by calling Harbour Winn at 208-5472, emailing him at firstname.lastname@example.org, or dropping by the Dulaney-Browne Library, Room 211 or 207. (Note the offices are located in the five-story building southwest of Walker Center.) Information can also be found on the web site of the Center for Interpersonal Studies through Film & Literature: www.okcu.edu/film-lit/
The series will be held in Walker Center, Room 151, on the Oklahoma City University campus from 7:00 to 9:00 PM on Tuesdays, beginning January 8 and continuing on alternate Tuesdays through March 5. Books, services, and other materials for this series of programs are provided by Let’s Talk About It, Oklahoma, a project of the Oklahoma Humanities Council with funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities. Funding for this series was provided by a grant from the Inasmuch Foundation.
READINGS AND DATES
1/8/2013 Joseph Campbell & Bill Moyers’s The Power of Myth
Campbell’s conversations launch our series theme. These interviews focus particularly on the paradigm or model of the hero. This pattern, based on pits and pieces from world myths, illuminates the cycle of the hero journey. Each of us can respond to the challenge to quest into the heart of our own psychological labyrinth to experience the energizing bliss of renewal.
1/22/2013 John G. Neihardt’s Black Elk Speaks
Near the end of his life, Oglala Sioux visionary Black Elk tells poet Neihardt the story of his power-vision journey. Called by many “the Fifth Testament,” Black Elk Speaks moves from Wounded Knee Crazy Horse to the end of a people’s way of life. This shaman comes to realize that the central mountain of his vision is not just in the Black Hills, that God is a circle whose center is everywhere and whose circumference is nowhere.
2/5/2013 E. M. Forster’s A Passage to India
Forster recounts the mythical and physical journeys of characters amidst three great religious traditions—Christianity, Islam and Hinduism—in the twilight of the British Empire in India. Mrs. Moore encounters a threshold crossing experience as she moves into ancient caves. What has happened when she emerges from these wombs or tombs—this heart of mystery?
2/19/2013 Doris Lessing’s The Summer Before the Dark
Nobel Laureate Lessing creates Kate Brown, a British woman facing the “empty nest syndrome,” and explores the mythical truth that can be found in dreams. Brown must journey away from her home and the roles and responsibilities attached to it and toward her inner self for survival.
3/5/2013 F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby
This classic American novel leads us into our own national dreams and nightmares on what it means to live a successful life. And, do success and happiness mean the same? Nick Carraway must decide if Jay Gatsby is really great, and so must you. Meet or reencounter our national story.