QUOTE(lottie @ Mar 21 2011, 08:19 AM)
It's been eleven months since I wrote my last essay. I would quite like to write another one. Would it be really WEIRD if I do it just for fun?...
I don't see why not - if you'd enjoy it, go for it. And then see if you can find someone who will publish it for you
QUOTE(tamsin @ Mar 20 2011, 06:48 PM)
I think I'd approach that one by woffling around 5,000-6,000 words on said mythological figure, and then looking at the woffle for common or emerging themes. These can then be targeted in a more structured 3,000 word essay.
Well, there is a bit more in the rubric - we have to trace the development of our chosen character, using at least three sources and no more than eight sources. One source must be ancient (Greek or Roman) but other than that it is up to us - they can be all ancient, or all-except-that-one-modern, etc.
Say you pick 5 sources - that's 500 words per source, plus 500 for intro + conclusion. That starts to seem extremely tight.
I've chosen Orpheus...and my sources so far are
1) The voyage of the Argo - Apollonius of Rhodes. Orpheus was one of the Argonauts who travelled with Jason, and in the Greek world this is the story he was best know for.
2) Virgil's Georgics
3) Ovid's Metamorphoses
Two Roman sources, written at a similar time, both concentrating on the Orpheus/Eurydice myth - though Ovid also includes the death of Orpheus and that his detatched head was found continuing to sing...
4) Sir Orfeo, an anonymous 14th century English poem, where Eurydice (now named Heuridis) is snatched away by the faerie king - combination of the classical myth with English folklore. There's a translation by Tolkien, as well as a freely available early 20th century translation online (but I can get Tolkien from the library!)
5) Brueghel the Elder's painting of Orpheus in the underworld (see here
). It'd be nice to include a non-written source, and this one tells you lots about the mediaeval mind - Orpheus/Persephone/Hades is such a small part of the painting, which is so much more about a terrible underworld/afterlife.
And that's five sources, and I haven't even got to the invention of opera yet! From which you could choose so many - Peri, Monteverdi, Telemann (just because it's Telemann!), Gluck (for wanting to bring 'noble simplicity' to opera), Offenbach (for parodying/satirising Gluck), all the way up to Birtwistle's 1986 'The Mask of Orpheus' - whcih wonderfully examines the contradictions in various tellings of the myth, kind of like the essay is going to! Though I don't know if I could convincingly write about opera, seeing as I don't listen to it...
Plus, Orpheus playing to the animals was a very common theme in Roman mosaics. In 4th century BC, the Etruscans often portrayed the prophesying head of Orpheus on the backs of mirrors, which would likely have been wedding gifts!
And then Cocteau did a play then film based on it, though the Orpheus/Eurydice relationship is very different in those, which is interesting in itself...actually there were a few Orpheus films in the 1950s...
So many things I could write about, so few words to write it in! I may end up dropping the Virgil and just using one Roman source, so I can bring in something later instead. But perhaps get going with the five I've got, add a sixth or seventh if it comes to it, and then drop out sources as needed to get it down to 3,000!!