Homework and Stuff…

Hi folks,

Today in class, I told you I’d update our class website, and, well, here’s the update.

As I mentioned in class, one of the texts (not the only one) that we’ll be reading this semester is Bulfinch’s Mythology (1855). It is a very famous and well-known book by the author Thomas Bulfinch, on the subject of mythology, designed to make the myths of ancient times available to a wider audience, including kids and people who were not able to read Latin and Greek. In fact, Bulfinch wrote books not just on Greco-Roman Mythology, but also the mythology of Northern Europe, Medieval legends of Arthur, and more. (But we’ll only be reading the parts on Greco-Roman Myths, in full.)

The book is in the public domain, meaning it’s very widely available for free. You can download it in many places, including at manybooks.net, where many formats are available.

If you would like to add an audiobook version, so you can listen to the book on the subway or bus, or at the gym during your workout, it’s available for free at the free audiobook website Librivox. (Librivox also makes its content available through iTunes; here’s the direct link to the book at iTunes.)

The audiobook is a great addition to the ebook, if you use it for reviewing the chapters I ask you to read. However, I recommend you not to use the audiobook alone: it’s a very good idea to read these texts with your eyes, especially for anyone who is a native speaker of English. (But the audiobooks are a nice bonus for reviewing or listening while on the go.)

Note that the vocabulary is a little old-fashioned (which isn’t surprising, the book is over 150 years old) but I’m assuming most of you have a smart phone. If you do, many ebook reading programs will include a dictionary that will let you check the meaning of a word by selecting it on the page. (If the one you have on your phone or device doesn’t, have a look and see if you can find one that does. On the iPhone/iPad, Stanza is one of the apps that does offer this function. I’m sure ebook readers in other platforms also offer this function, but if not, well, old-fashioned dictionaries will do the job too…)


Your homework for next class included two tasks:

  1. Download Bulfinch’s Mythology and read the first chapter. Take some notes, and be prepared to discuss it in class.
  2. Make an effort to spend a little time talking to a child who is not “literate” (ie. someone who is very young, who cannot read, or who can read but has not yet internalized the social and cultural norms of literacy very deeply) and try to get a handle on how the way this kid speaks, tells stories, and understands the world is different from the way you and other adults do. Note: it’s better if you don’t walk up to strange kids and do this; try offering your relatives  to babysit or something. If you can’t do it immediately (ie. in time for next class), it’s still a good exercise to try at some point soon, but we will be discussing the exercise next time (that is, on 5 September).
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