Women in Myth and Literature: Helen of Troy
An Ashoka University online course for high-school students.
About The Course
Helen of Troy lived a fascinating life, from her birth from an egg to her journeys crossing the Mediterranean from Greece to Asia Minor (or, by another account, into Egypt). Celebrated as the most beautiful woman in the world, and blamed for all the suffering of the Trojan War, Helen became a paradigmatic case in antiquity for thinking about the knowability of myth. This class will introduce students not just to various myths about Helen of Troy, but to ways of writing about Helen across literary genres, including epic, lyric poetry, tragedy, and rhetorical prose. We will be paying particular attention to the ways in which the story of Helen was fashioned and refashioned in each genre, and read selections from the primary sources, including Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey, Euripides’ Helen, and Gorgias’ Encomium of Helen. At the end of the course, we will also consider the reception of Helen in modernist poetry, by reading selections from Hilda Doolittle’s Helen in Egypt.
Apply for Horizons Summer 2022
She is currently working on two monographs, which are respectively titled The Greek Dramatic Festivals in the Roman Era, and Radical Dancers: A Cultural and Intellectual History of Pantomime.
Her research interests include Greek and Roman drama and dance, Sanskrit drama, paratheatrical forms (puppetry, trick magic, automata), Global Antiquities, Material Culture and Performance.
Learning Support for the Course
Brinda Sarma is currently pursuing her Masters in English at Ashoka University. Her research interests include pre-modern literature from the Hellenistic era, early medieval Chinese period and ancient India. Her MA thesis is a comparative project concerning the writings of the Neopythagorean women and the Therigatha by Early Indian Buddhist Nuns.