ELCS6072 The Monstrous Maker
Value: 0.5 course units
Tutor: Dr Helga Luthersdottir
Assessment: 3 hour desk examination.
This module focuses on the image of the smith and his/her uncanny ability to extract raw material from the earth and reshape it into something that alters individuals as well as entire civilizations from antiquity to contemporary times, spanning oral traditions, artistic depictions, historical re-enactment, literature, film, graphic novels, and MMORPGs. The aims of the module are threefold. Firstly, it seeks to explore and analyze the various representations of the uncanny blacksmith in history, as represented through myth, legend, literature and art, while exploring the fascination Romanticism, fantasy and popular culture exhibit with this figure of times past. Secondly, the module seeks to historically and theoretically map the development of the monstrous maker from antiquity to current times as it explores the relationship between the world of fantasy and popular culture on one hand and the scholarly fields of Mythology and Classics on the other, asking in which way these fields interact and influence each other. Thirdly the module will explore the bonds and the breaks between art and craft, the manual and the intellectual, and the natural and the supernatural.
List of primary texts:
- Ovid’s Metamorphoses, selections
- From the Poetic Edda, “The Lay of Völund”
- Nibelungenlied (The Song of the Nibelungs)
- The Saga of the Völsung
- Egil’s Saga
- Chaucer, “The Miller’s Tale”
- Lawrence Norfolk, Lempriere's Dictionary, Grove Press, New York 1991
- Svava Jakobsdottir, Gunnlöth’s Tale, Norvik Press, London 2011
- J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings,
- Blacksmith GN (Kickstart Comics), Miura, Isao (Story), Yamada Koutarou (Art)
List of films:
- LotR: The Two Towers
- Iron Man II
Cornelius Novelli, “Sin, Sight, and Sanctity in ‘The Miller’s Tale’: Why Chaucer’s Blacksmith works at Night”. Chaucer Review; 1998, Vol. 33 Issue 2, p168
Additional scholarly texts will be listed at a later time, please check for updates.