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January 18 - February 22, 2022
Tuesdays, 6:00-8:00 p.m. Pacific Time (six sessions)
online via Zoom


Humans are storytellers by nature: “Where would we be without our plots?” asks a character in a Margaret Atwood short story. Some stories persist over centuries and generations, subtly transformed with each retelling. In this seminar, we will read three modern renditions of old stories.

In The Penelopiad, Margaret Atwood reimagines the tale of Odysseus from his wife’s perspective, offering a woman’s take on the great hero and the life she has lead with (or mostly without) him. Daisy Johnson adopts the framework of a classical myth (gradually revealed to readers) for her story of family conflict and abandonment in the atmospheric Everything Under. In The Mere Wife, Maria Dahvana Headley sets Beowulf in suburban America. We will explore how the authors adapt these tales for modern audiences; which elements they retain and which they discard; how new attitudes and understandings inform these retellings and reshape our thinking about the originals; what the novels have to say about the importance of story and its role in our lives. Rich in language and ideas—about fate, free will, gender, marriage, motherhood, and family—these novels speak to human concerns and ideas that transcend time and place and connect past and present.


The Penelopiad , Margaret Atwood

Everything Under, Daisy Johnson

The Mere Wife, Maria Dhavana Headley

Access Program
We want our Delves to be accessible to everyone, regardless of income and background. We understand that our tuition structure can present obstacles for some people. Our Access Program offers Delve registrations at a reduced rate. The access program for Delves covers 60% of the class tuition. Most writing classes have at least one access spot available.

Please apply here for access rate tuition. Contact Susan Moore at susan@literary-arts.org if you have questions.



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Sara Atwood

Sara Atwood teaches English literature and writing at Portland Community College and Portland State University. She is Co-Director of the Ruskin Society of North America and has lectured widely, both in the US and abroad, on John Ruskin, education, the environment, and language. Her work has been published in Nineteenth-Century Prose, The Journal of Pre-Raphaelite Studies, and Carlyle Studies Annual. She is the author of Ruskin’s Educational Ideals and has contributed essays to a number of books, including Teaching Victorian Literature in the Twenty-First Century, John Ruskin and Nineteenth-Century Education, William Morris and John Ruskin, and Victorian Environmental Nightmares.
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