Legacy of Myth and Magic
Legacy - HNRS 1120

Instructor(s): Jonatha Kottler

Course Description

Mythologies are systems of belief by which humans attempt to explain and make sense of the world around them. Magic is an element of fantastical belief in which humans envision new ways to impact the world, to change those things which are inexplicable. Together, these two forces demonstrate key elements of human spirit—to understand and to cope with the world we find ourselves in by use of imagination.

Today we have a huge segment of our popular media which concentrates on exploration of magic and myth. Why are logical, modern, technological Americans drawn to pastoral ideas of elemental powers? What do these stories excite in us and what do they reveal about our own time? What can we learn from these tales and bring back into our everyday lives? In our study of ancient writings and modern media we will see that we today are tied together in the expression of these elements with people of other places and times. By developing understanding through careful reading, writing and discussion we can touch upon the spark that makes us vulnerable, logical, vengeful, passionate, fickle, dreamy, cruel, loving; that is, human.


Required readings:
Emily Wilson, (trans.)
The Odyssey (this translation only!)
Neil Gaiman, Norse Mythology
The Lais of Marie de France (ed.
Hanning and Ferrante)
A Midsummer Night’s Dream (any edition with line numbers) Stephen Graham Jones, Mongrels
Nnedi Okorafor, Akata Witch

Stardust (dir. Matthew Vaughn)


Attendance and Participation Mental Health
Discussion Questions
Group Project

Essays 2/15 pts. each Creative Project

About the Instructor(s): Jonatha Kottler

Jona (rhymes with "Donna") is a graduate of UNM Honors and began teaching here in 2003. She has a BA in English, an MA in Liberal Arts from St. John's College, and is a candidate in the

MFA program at the Institute of American Indian Arts. She lived abroad in Amsterdam, NL and Edinburgh, Scotland where she published fiction and non-fiction works in NY Magazine, The Guardian, and on Audible. She is a huge nerd who has written seven short films and co-created the comic book series The Wonderverse. She knows a whole lot about Batman, and the MCU.