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


This paper is suspended for the academic year 2022-23

This paper has two components: Language and Literature.


Language teaching focuses on comprehension and translation skills. The option of two levels of proficiency is available. The higher level is intended for students who have previously taken GR3 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 concentrate on the essentials of grammar for the basic level, while for the advanced intermediate level classes build on the grammar base already acquired in previous studies and 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 and it is well known that during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries in particular 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 its interaction with and creative assimilation of 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 2020 - 2021


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?


  • Myth and identity
  • Myth and politics
  • Myth and history
  • Women's writing and myth
  • Myth and the visual arts
  • Myth in Modern Greek surrealism
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: 

There will be 16 hours of lectures, 8 in Michaelmas Term and 8 in Lent Term.
Students will also be required to attend two hours per week of languages classes in Michaelmas, Lent and translation workshops in Easter Term.

A total of eight supervisions will be offered to prepare the students for the essay questions in the examination. There will be three supervisions in Michaelmas Term, three in Lent and two in Easter.

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