The first four lectures (Lorenzo Cardilli) will be devoted to Ulysses, one of the most powerful and long-lasting characters in the Western imaginary. An intriguing and multi-faceted figure since its inception, Ulysses and his multifarious incarnations embody key-trends in Western culture, such as mediation, reflexivity, imagination, lust for knowledge, cunning and hubris. First, the Homeric Odysseus will be analysed, in order to discuss the archetypal features of this character and his relationship with ancient Greek culture. Then Latin versions will be considered with special regard for the role of Ulysses in establishing a Roman-based legitimation mythology. Dante’s Ulysses will later be addressed as an unparalleled incarnation of both medieval and modern values, in between a divinely ordered cosmology and new individualistic social trends. The last part of the lectures will focus on more modern Ulysses type characters: from the literary transfigured navigators (like Columbus) to the romantic rework by Tennison, and from nostalgia for the dying mythologies (Pascoli) to the debunking Ulysses by James Joyce. The unit will provide a vivid picture of a mythical figure that, rather than being imprisoned in an unattainable past, renewed itself over the centuries in the wake of the most significant cultural changes and revolutions.
In the last two lectures (Simona Chiodo), the figure of Prometheus will be analysed as the most powerful symbol of the European relationship between the humans and technology. In particular, we will reflect on the meaning of Prometheus’s ancient Greek myth (Hesiod, Aeschylus, Plato, and Ovid), of its most important modern version (Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein: or, The Modern Prometheus), and of its possible contemporary development.
The aim is providing PoliMi PhD students (especially if they are not European, but the course is open to any student) with the essential cornerstones of the European Culture through the tools of the Humanities (especially Literature and Philosophy, from both a historical and a theoretical perspective).
Notes on methods of assessing
The PhD students are asked to write a report on the relationship between one of the issues explored and their doctoral research (about 15.000 characters). The report must be sent to the lecturers within the end of March 2020.
Day 1 (Cardilli): January 13, 2020 (Monday), 9.30-18.00, room 9.02
Day 2 (Cardilli): January 20, 2020 (Monday), 9.30-18.00, room 9.02
Day 3 (Chiodo): January 27, 2020 (Monday), 9.30-18.00, room 9.02
Information in English to support internationalization