Tuesday, January 3, 2012

TFBT: The Ten Greatest Mythologists of our Age

“Mythologist” is sort of an old fashion word. These researchers of The Iliad and Greek Mythology might be called Philologists, Classicists, Latinists or professors, scholars, researchers or lecturers of Classical Studies. And yes, this is only my uncredentialed opinion.

1) Aaron J. Atsma

Aaron J Atsma of Auckland, New Zealand is the creator and web-master of http://www.theoi.com/
This is a magnificent site I visit all the time. It is well written and well organized. All articles include the source material in common translation. As the name implies, Atsma’s research centers on the Greek divinities. His interpretation of myths, particularly in correspondences is often lacking a classical reference, but they induce that intuitive “Aha!” that helps make so much sense of the topic at hand.

2) Jenny Strauss-Clay

Jenny Strauss-Clay is the William R. Kenan, Jr. Professor of Classics at the University of Virginia she received degrees from Reed College, the University of Chicago and the University of Washington I find her writing clear, concise and thought provoking. I revisit her works constantly. Her works includ;
Hesiod's Cosmos Cambridge University Press, 2003. Which I refer to constantly and think is a requirement for anyone wanting to understand one of the foundation documents of Classical Studies.
· The Wrath of Athena: Gods and Men in the Odyssey. Princeton University Press, 1983. Reprint, Rowman and Littlefield, 1996.
· The Politics of Olympus: Form and Meaning in the Major Homeric Hymns. Princeton University Press. 1989.
Her articles include;
The Dais of Death Transactions of the American Philological Association (1974-), Vol. 124, (1994), pp. 35-40
· The Generation of Monsters in Hesiod Classical Philology, Vol. 88, No. 2 (Apr., 1993), pp. 105-116
She has a website at http://www.virginia.edu/classics/clay.html

3) NS Gill

N.S. Gill is a Latinist and freelancer. She writes about ancient history and classics for http://www.about.com/. N.S. Gill has a B.A. in Latin and an M.A. in linguistics at the University of Minnesota.
Her website is at http://ancienthistory.about.com/ Her site is well linked and covers a broad range of classical topics. I subscribed ages ago and get constant lively interesting updates.

4) Ian C. Johnston

Ian Johnston is a retired instructor (now a Research Associate) at Vancouver Island University (the new name for Malaspina College), Nanaimo, British Columbia, Canada. He received a BS from McGills in Geology and Chemistry, BA from Bristols in English and Greek and MA from Toronto in Engineering. Johnston has written about almost everything and translated books on the rest of everything. His books include
The Ironies of War: An introduction to Homer’s Iliad University Press of America (1988)
His articles include as brilliant series of essays on Homer’s Iliad
· Essay 1: Homer's War
· Essay 2: Homer's Similes: Nature as Conflict
· Essay 3: The Gods
· Essay 4: The Heroic Code
· Essay 5: Arms and the Men
· Essay 6: Hector and Achilles
· Essay 7: Homer and the Modern Imagination
· Essay 8: On Modern English Translations of the Iliad
Ian Johnston’s website is at http://records.viu.ca/~johnstoi/ It is designed to provide curricular material for various courses in literature and Liberal Studies. Johnston writes on myriad topics in addition to classical studies and all the articles at his website are thought provoking and professional.

5) Deborah Lyons

Deborah Lyons is an Associate Professor in the Department of Classics Miami University, her education was at Princeton University -- M.A. 1983; Ph.D. 1989. Her books include
· Gender and Immortality: Heroines in Ancient Greek Myth and Cult. Princeton University Press (1997). She covers a wide range of topics and is thought provoking.
Her articles include;
· The Sexual Life of Satyrs by F. Lissarrague and “One, Two, Three...Eros” by J.-P. Vernant in Before Sexuality, Princeton University Press, 1990.
Her website is http://www.units.muohio.edu/classics/cls/lyons/lyons.html

6) Gregory Nagy

Gregory Nagy is a professor of Classics at Harvard University, and the director of the Center for Hellenic Studies, a Harvard school in Washington DC. He is the Francis Jones Professor of Classical Greek Literature and Professor of Comparative Literature at Harvard, and continues to teach half-time at the Harvard campus in Cambridge, Massachusetts. He studied at Indiana University and Harvard receiving his PhD in Classical Philology and Linguistics in 1966. I find Professor Nagy inspiring! The handful of his books I’ve read from the library which is his total writings, are approachable, readable, instructive and full of insights. Nagy’s books include;
The Best Of The Achaeans; Concepts Of The Hero In Archaic Greek Poetry Johns Hopkins University Press (1981) This is another book I refer to constantly and found quite enlightening.
Greek Mythology and Poetics Cornell University Press (1992)
His articles include;
· Phaethon, Sappho's Phaon, and the White Rock of Leukas Harvard Studies in Classical Philology, Vol. 77, (1973), pp. 137-177
Homeric Questions Transactions of the American Philological Association (1974-), Vol. 122, (1992), pp. 17-60
I strongly urge you to take the free on-line extension offered by Harvard and taught by Professor Nagy and Kevin McGrath http://www.extension.harvard.edu/open-learning-initiative/ancient-greek-civilization
Other websites include
The Center for Hellenic Studies, and a webpage at Harvard's Classics department under faculty profiles.

7) Carlos Parada

Carlos Parada is a former lecturer in Classics at Lund University in Sweden. His books include
Genealogical Guide to Greek Mythology Coronet Books (1993)
His website is Greek Mythology Link This is an incredible well organized, heavily linked depository of everything dealing with Greek mythology. The complexity and thoroughness of his efforts are unbelievable and incredibly valuable.

8) Ruth Scodel

Ruth Scodel is the D. R. Shackleton Bailey Collegiate Professor of Greek and Latin at the University of Michigan. She studied at Harvard University 1973-1978, Ph.D. June 1978
University of California, Berkeley 1969-1973 A.B. June 1973. I’ve found her writing refreshing and offering unique perspectives. Her books include
Listening to Homer University of Michigan Press (2009)
Her articles include;
Apollo's Perfidy: Iliad ω 59-63 Harvard Studies in Classical Philology, Vol. 81, (1977), pp. 55-57
· The Gods' Visit to the Ethiopians in "Iliad" 1 Harvard Studies in Classical Philology, Vol. 103, (2007), pp. 83-98
The Suitors' Games The American Journal of Philology, Vol. 122, No. 3 (Autumn, 2001), pp. 307-327
The Word of Achilles Classical Philology, Vol. 84, No. 2 (Apr., 1989), pp. 91-99
The Wits of Glaucus Transactions of the American Philological Association (1974-), Vol. 122, (1992), pp. 73-84
· The Achaean Wall and the Myth of Destruction Harvard Studies in Classical Philology, Vol. 86, (1982), pp. 33-50
Her website can be found at http://www-personal.umich.edu/~rscodel/home.html

9) Laura Slatkin

Laura Slatkin is a professor at New York University (Gallatin School). She is also currently visiting professor on the Committee on Social Thought at the University of Chicago. She was educated with B.A. Classics, Harvard University, 1968, M.A. Classics, University of Cambridge, 1970, Ph.D. Classical Philology, Harvard University, 1979. I find her writing clear, concise and convincing.
Her articles include; Gender and Homer Epic (with Nancy Felson) in the Cambridge Companion to Homer, Robert Fowler editor. I loved that line “men, women, gods and goddesses, working out their very different fortunes in a universe win which kleos (glory) is the highest value." I like how this article takes a different prespective on Homer’s two greatest poems by contrasting the relationships of the genders in each.
“Notes on Tragic Visualizing in the Iliad” also. I appreciate your insights into seeing, particularly the thought that the mist that veils the divinities from mortals correlates to the final mist that covers the eyes of us. You really piqued my interest with the discussion on Achilles' sight.
. Her books include; The Power of Thetis University of California Press (1995). I simply adore this book and think it gave me a greater understanding of The Iliad and swift-footed Achilles than any other book I read.

10) Venessa James

Vanessa James is associate professor and chair of theatre arts at Mount Holyoke College. She was educated at University of Bristol, England, C.I.D and Wimbledon College of Art, Dip. AD James is another author who writes on myriad topics.
Her books include;
The Genealogy of Greek Mythology: An Illustrated Family Tree of Greek Mythology from the First Gods to the Founders of Rome Penguin Group, USA (2003) This accordion-style book, includes a full genealogy as well as color illustrations and stories about Greek gods. It perfect for those of us who need handy visual and textual materials when studying relationship amongst mythological characters. Of course, I am one of those people who can read a genealogy table.
Her website is at http://www.mtholyoke.edu/acad/facultyprofiles/vanessa_james.html


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