Wheaton College Norton, Massachusetts
Wheaton College
First-Year Seminar


FYS Section A24. From Hell to Hogwarts

The trip to hell and back is one of the founding myths of Western culture. It dates back to The Epic of Gilgamesh and continues strong to this day. Looking at three-thousand-year-old narratives — and more recent stories — can help us address some fundamental questions about culture. How do traditions work? What role does translation play in tradition? How are old stories from Babylon and Greece retooled and reused for new purposes today? What is the nature of creativity? How are cultural and historical concerns represented in artistic texts? In other words, what does Homer have to do with Harry Potter? Readings will include works by Homer, Virgil, Dante, TS Eliot and JK Rowling.

Thomas Dolack
Visiting Assistant Professor of Russian