Academic Integrity*

Academic Resources*

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Objectives Policies Texts Assignments

English 290: Literature of the Sacred (Mythology)

Note that you are responsible for understanding for all material on this page, and all items marked with an asterisk (*) on the class menu to the left. You will be held accountable to WCU's Academic Integrity Policy, linked at left and explained in its entirety here.

Mary Adams, Instructor
Office phone: x3929 (but email works better)
Office is 418

Use this email address to contact me: madams@wcu.edu

Meets TR 11-12:30 p.m. in Coulter 204
Office hour: TR 10-11 a.m. or by appointment


Course Objectives

Upon completion of this class, students will have the following skills:

  1. Critical Reading of Primary and Secondary Texts:
    Students will read several original ancient Greek and Roman texts (purchase texts), as well as historical and social context of those texts (rental textbook)
  2. Critical Writing About Primary Texts
    Students analyze and interpret in writing those works of English literature using appropriate evidence, conventions, and language
  3. Improved understanding of the forces that shaped the ancient world and the literature it created
  4. Rudimentary understanding of theoretical approaches to mythology
  5. Some understanding of more modern responses (poems, music, art) to mythological themes.

Liberal Studies Objectives

This course is a Liberal Studies course.  The learning goals of the Liberal Studies Program are for students to:

P4: Humanities Course Objectives:

This course satisfies the P4 Perspective requirement of the Liberal Studies Program.  Beyond the Primary Goals of the Perspectives courses, you will be exposed to landmark texts that embody the traditional Western heritage of humanity’s attempt to understand the human condition and that engage you in the exploration of the significance of human modes of being, thought, and values in your life.  As in all Liberal Studies Perspective offerings, this course will emphasize reading, writing, and the use of information, as well as one or more of the following: critical analysis, oral communication, service learning, moral reflection, and cultural diversity.


See the Academic Integrity Policy here.You will be held accountable to this policy.

To help you get the most out of the course, I have instituted these policies:

Attendance Policy

This class meets twice a week, so I begin lowering your grade by one letter after four missed classes. That includes excused or unexcused absences; I don't care why you're absent. However, here are some good tips regarding attendance:

I do excuse university absences when I am required to do so (university sponsored trips, etc.) but I expect you to find out what you missed and do the work you missed.

Digital Incivility

You may use an ebook reader in my class, but please don't use a computer, phone, or laptop for anything else. Turn your phones off and put them away (not in your lap or on your desk). If I discover that you're on Facebook, email, texting, browsing, or using any digital resources except for our textbook, I will mark you absent and ask you to leave.

If you have a disability that requires the use of certain computer tools, please let me know in advance. I reserve the right to check your computer's screen to make sure you're following my policy. If you put it away when I try to look at it, I will assume you are breaking my rules and will mark you absent and ask you to leave.


Safeassign: WCU instructors reserve the right to use plagiarism prevention software (such as SafeAssignment.com) as well as Google, Yahoo, and/or other Internet search engines to determine whether or not student papers have been plagiarized. With plagiarism prevention software, instructors may upload student papers into a searchable database or teach students how to upload their own work as part of the course requirements.


No student may record, tape, or photograph any classroom activity without the express written consent of the instructor. Students may not make audio or video recordings of course activities except students permitted to record as an approved accommodation. Recordings of class may not be posted publicly (online or otherwise) or distributed to individuals who are not students in the course without the express permission of the faculty member and of any students who are recorded

Office of Disability Services

Accommodations for Students with Disabilities: Western Carolina University is committed to providing equal educational opportunities for students with documented disabilities and/or medical conditions.  Students who require reasonable accommodations must identify themselves as having a disability and/or medical condition and provide current diagnostic documentation to the Office of Disability Services.  All information is confidential.  Please contact the Office of Disability Services at (828) 227-3886 or come by Suite 135 Killian Annex for an appointment.

Student Support Services

Student Support Services provides support to students who are either first-generation, low-income or those who have disclosed a disability with: academic advising, mentoring, one-on-one tutorial support, and workshops focused on career, financial aid and graduate school preparation. You may contact SSS at (828) 227-7127 or email sssprogram@wcu.edu for more information. SSS is located in the Killian Annex, room 138.

You, your parents, and the taxpayers have already paid for the following Academic Resources. You would be very wise to use them.

Texts (Please no e-books)


Title Classical Mythology (Rental)
Author Harris, Stephen
ISBN 978-0073407524
Publisher McGraw-Hilll Humanities
Publication Date April 11, 2011
Type Print

Purchase all of the following three books, plus select one of the last two.

Title The Odyssey
Author Homer; Fagles
ISBN 978-0140268867
Publisher Penguin Classics Deluxe
Type Print
Price $10.17

Title The Aeneid
Author Virgil; Fitzgerald
ISBN 978-0679729525
Publisher Vintage
Publication Date June 16, 1990
Type Print
Price $9.80

Title Inferno
Author Dante Alighieri (Editor); Allen Mandelbaum (Translator); Barry Moser (Illustrator)
ISBN 978-0-553-21339-3
Publisher Random House Publishing Group
Publication Date January 1, 1982
Binding Mass Market
Type Print
Price $6.95

Choose one of the following:

Title The Penelopiad
Author Margaret Atwood
ISBN 978-1-84195-798-2
Publisher Canongate Books
Publication Date September 14, 2006
Binding Perfect
Type Print
Price $14.00


Title No-Man's Lands
Author Scott Huler
ISBN 978-1-4000-8283-4
Publisher Crown Publishing Group
Publication Date January 5, 2010
Binding Trade Paper
Type Print
Price $14.00

Course Requirements:

Grades will be assessed as follows:

Assignment % of Grade

Weight Assignment
20% Quizzes (All quizzes are open book. If you miss a quiz, you cannot make it up. I will drop two of the lowest quiz grades).
10% Paper 1: presented as PowerPoint (analysis of a theme in the Odyssey) in my office
15% Paper 2: Analysis of either Atwood or Huler's books as responses to Odyssey
10% Group project/ presentation to class: Artistic response (PowerPoint, etc.) to either the Aeneid or Dante's inferno OR creation and presentation to class of a myth of your own (Your group can have a minimum or two people and a maximum of three. Part of your grade will involve describing and assessing the participation of your group members)
20% Short writings and onboard discussions
10% Participation
15% Final exam
100% TOTAL

See the grading scale here.