Welcome to SPACE, our adult continuing education program which offers interactive monthly courses for personal enrichment! Learn more here.

Children’s Literature Portal

Or view as a table.

Advanced Old English Readings: Alice in Wonderland

Dr. Peter Baker, then of the University of Virginia, translated Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland into Old English. This module will work with and translate back into Modern English this fun and delightful text, Æðelgyðe Ellendæda on Wundorlande: Alice's Adventures in Wonderland in Old English.
Precepted by Dr. Larry Swain

Book Club: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

Gulping gargoyles, let's read the next Harry Potter book!

By popular demand, here is the long-awaited Harry Potter book club! We will get together twice a week to explore the series, reading through the books at a relaxed pace. Connect with fellow readers and share your insights as we discover (or rediscover) the magic.

Over one month, we will follow twelve-year-old Harry's adventures as he uncovers the dark secrets lurking beneath Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Whispers and plots abound within the castle, as Harry must confront the evil legacy of Voldemort.

This book club is all about sharing the moments of unexpected, joyful discovery through close reading. Focusing on the text, we will share our personal readings and experiences. We will learn from our classmates in a kindness-first, supportive environment.

Together, we can tackle some big questions about the series. What was it about the Harry Potter books that resonated with so many people? To what extent is it possible or indeed desirable to separate art from artist?

Most of all, however, we will have an inclusive dialogue that embraces a multiplicity of views and enriches our experience of the text.
Precepted by Dr. Julian Barr

Book Club: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire 1 First in the Series

Wands at the ready, let's read the fourth Harry Potter book!

We will get together twice a week to explore the series, reading through the books at a relaxed pace. Connect with fellow readers and share your insights as we discover (or rediscover) the magic.

Over two months, we will follow fourteen-year-old Harry's adventures as he is forced to compete in the deadly Triwizard Tournament. But who entered him in the tournament, and why? The answers will reveal the dark forces poised to destroy the wizarding world...

This book club is all about sharing the moments of unexpected, joyful discovery through close reading. Focusing on the text, we will share our personal readings and experiences. We will learn from our classmates in a kindness-first, supportive environment.

Together, we can tackle some big questions about the series. What was it about the Harry Potter books that resonated with so many people? To what extent is it possible or indeed desirable to separate art from artist?

Most of all, however, we will have an inclusive dialogue that embraces a multiplicity of views and enriches our experience of the text.
Precepted by Dr. Julian Barr

Book Club: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire 2 Continuing Series

Wands at the ready, let's read the fourth Harry Potter book!

We will get together twice a week to explore the series, reading through the books at a relaxed pace. Connect with fellow readers and share your insights as we discover (or rediscover) the magic.

Over two months, we will follow fourteen-year-old Harry's adventures as he is forced to compete in the deadly Triwizard Tournament. But who entered him in the tournament, and why? The answers will reveal the dark forces poised to destroy the wizarding world...

This book club is all about sharing the moments of unexpected, joyful discovery through close reading. Focusing on the text, we will share our personal readings and experiences. We will learn from our classmates in a kindness-first, supportive environment.

Together, we can tackle some big questions about the series. What was it about the Harry Potter books that resonated with so many people? To what extent is it possible or indeed desirable to separate art from artist?

Most of all, however, we will have an inclusive dialogue that embraces a multiplicity of views and enriches our experience of the text.
Precepted by Dr. Julian Barr

Book Club: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire Series

Wands at the ready, let's read the fourth Harry Potter book!

We will get together twice a week to explore the series, reading through the books at a relaxed pace. Connect with fellow readers and share your insights as we discover (or rediscover) the magic.

Over two months, we will follow fourteen-year-old Harry's adventures as he is forced to compete in the deadly Triwizard Tournament. But who entered him in the tournament, and why? The answers will reveal the dark forces poised to destroy the wizarding world...

This book club is all about sharing the moments of unexpected, joyful discovery through close reading. Focusing on the text, we will share our personal readings and experiences. We will learn from our classmates in a kindness-first, supportive environment.

Together, we can tackle some big questions about the series. What was it about the Harry Potter books that resonated with so many people? To what extent is it possible or indeed desirable to separate art from artist?

Most of all, however, we will have an inclusive dialogue that embraces a multiplicity of views and enriches our experience of the text.
Precepted by Dr. Julian Barr

Book Club: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

Blimey, let's read the third Harry Potter book!
We will get together twice a week to explore the series, reading through the books at a relaxed pace. Connect with fellow readers and share your insights as we discover (or rediscover) the magic.

Over one month, we will follow thirteen-year-old Harry's adventures as he contends with an escaped mass murderer. Yet all is not as it seems. As Harry grapples with the consequences of a hidden betrayal, he must confront the meaning of fear. Failure may just cost him his soul…

This book club is all about sharing the moments of unexpected, joyful discovery through close reading. Focusing on the text, we will share our personal readings and experiences. We will learn from our classmates in a kindness-first, supportive environment.

Together, we can tackle some big questions about the series. What was it about the Harry Potter books that resonated with so many people? To what extent is it possible or indeed desirable to separate art from artist?

Most of all, however, we will have an inclusive dialogue that embraces a multiplicity of views and enriches our experience of the text.
Precepted by Dr. Julian Barr

Book Club: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone

Merlin's beard, let's read the first Harry Potter book!

By popular demand, here is the long-awaited Harry Potter book club! We will get together twice a week to explore the series, reading through the books at a relaxed pace. Connect with fellow readers and share your insights as we discover (or rediscover) the magic.

First, we will go back to where it all began, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. Over one month, we will follow eleven-year-old Harry's adventures as he commences his study at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Together, we will explore themes like friendship, courage, and the power of love.

This book club is all about sharing the moments of unexpected, joyful discovery through close reading. Focusing on the text, we will share our personal readings and experiences. We will learn from our classmates in a kindness-first, supportive environment.

Together, we can tackle some big questions about the series. What was it about the Harry Potter books that resonated with so many people? To what extent is it possible or indeed desirable to separate art from artist?

Most of all, however, we will have an inclusive dialogue that embraces a multiplicity of views and enriches our experience of the text.
Precepted by Dr. Julian Barr

Book Club: The Chronicles of Prydain by Lloyd Alexander

Dive into the world of Welsh mythology with Lloyd Alexander's classic children’s fantasy series, The Chronicles of Prydain. Over three modules, we'll explore the five novels and Disney’s animated adaptation. We will unpack themes like bravery, friendship and identity while following the epic journey of Taran, an assistant pig-keeper who dreams of adventure. Every week, you will get to connect with fellow book lovers and share your insights. This module is perfect for the creative writer looking to pick up techniques through close reading, or for anyone looking for the warmth of a cozy book club. Enroll now and join the battle against Arawn and the Horned King!

Module 1: The Book of Three / The Black Cauldron
Module 2: The Castle of Llyr / Taran Wanderer
Module 3: The High King / Disney’s The Black Cauldron
Precepted by Dr. Julian Barr

Book Club: The Inheritance Cycle by Christopher Paolini

Kvetha Fricaya: greetings, friends! Ahead of the release of the newly announced sequel, Murtagh, go back to where it all began with Christopher Paolini's much-loved Inheritance Cycle. In a series of four modules, we'll follow Eragon as he joins the ranks of the legendary dragon riders and embarks on an epic journey to free the land of Alagaësia from tyranny. Identifying how Paolini actively engages with fantasy tropes, we will explore themes of destiny, courage and friendship. Connect with fellow book lovers to share insights on the readings. This module is perfect for the creative writer looking to pick up techniques through close reading, or for anyone looking for the warmth of a cozy book club. May your swords stay sharp!

Module 1: Eragon
Module 2: Eldest
Module 3: Brisingr
Module 4: Inheritance
Precepted by Dr. Julian Barr

Creative Writing: Oral Storytelling

Storytelling might just be our oldest art, crossing time, cultures, and continents. Crafting a story suitable for telling demands a heightened awareness of audience, medium, and meaning. Telling a story requires fluidity in a register both intimate and stylized. We'll create, practice, and tell our short tales in a month of cooperative fun and work. We will use a collaborative and encouraging mode of feedback to focus both on the construction of your story and on its performance. You will end the month having written an original tale, fiction or memoir or drawn from myth and legend, which has been written specifically to be shared aloud. You will also carry forward a toolkit for exploring this art.
Note: For more information about the Collaborative Feedback Method in SPACE, please check out our video here.

Creative Writing: Writing for Children

What makes a good children’s story? We’re going to address chapter books, cultural stories, and learning tales all through a lens of moral, cultural, and spiritual human development. Trying our hands at these forms should lead us to a nice folder full of works-in-progress at the end of the month. The December iteration of this module is designed to complete one treasured story gift for the holidays.

Note: For more information about the Collaborative Feedback Method in SPACE, please check out our video here.
Precepted by Sparrow F. Alden

Discovering the Discworld: Aching and Growing

Terry Pratchett said that Tiffany Aching "...started with a girl lying down by a river, on the first page of The Wee Free Men". With the character of Tiffany, a witch-in-training with initially only a frying pan and her common sense to help her, Pratchett said that he wanted to "restate" the purpose of magic on the Discworld and the relationship between wizards, witches, and others. He included ideas of responsibility and "guarding your society" as he felt it drew closer to the reality of a witch – that is, "the village herbalist, the midwife, the person who knew things". Pratchett chose a young protagonist because when you're young "you have to learn," and he chose the name "Tiffany" because it evoked anything but a powerful witch.

Throughout the series, Tiffany grows both as a young girl and woman and as a witch. In this course, we will follow the arc of Tiffany’s progress from naïve young girl to a powerful witch in her own right, who takes over from Granny Weatherwax, is hailed by the Nac Mac Feagle as their new ‘hag o’ the hills,’ and whose name, in their language, is Tir-far-thóinn or "Land Under Wave."

Access to the listed texts is desirable. Prior knowledge of at least the majority of the listed texts will be assumed.
Precepted by Dr. Sara Brown

His Dark Materials in Context: The Amber Spyglass

Sir Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy is widely regarded as a modern classic, has been described by The New Statesman as “the most ambitious work since The Lord of the Rings,” and has been adapted onto stage, radio, and screen. The series is also deep and complex, drawing from a rich array of literary, philosophical, and theological ideas.

In this three-module series we will read, successively, the three novels in Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy, juxtaposing each with selected materials that will allow us to read Pullman’s work both on its own and in conversation with other works. Students can join one, two, or all three modules. There are no prerequisites.

• Module 1: His Dark Materials in Context: The Golden Compass (a.k.a. Northern Lights) (October 2023)

• Module 2: His Dark Materials in Context: The Subtle Knife (December 2023)

• Module 3: His Dark Materials in Context: The Amber Spyglass (January 2023)

His Dark Materials in Context: The Golden Compass

Sir Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy is widely regarded as a modern classic, has been described by The New Statesman as “the most ambitious work since The Lord of the Rings,” and has been adapted onto stage, radio, and screen. The series is also deep and complex, drawing from a rich array of literary, philosophical, and theological ideas.

In this three-module series we will read, successively, the three novels in Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy, juxtaposing each with selected materials that will allow us to read Pullman’s work both on its own and in conversation with other works. Students can join one, two, or all three modules. There are no prerequisites.

• Module 1: His Dark Materials in Context: The Golden Compass (a.k.a. Northern Lights) (October 2023)

• Module 2: His Dark Materials in Context: The Subtle Knife (December 2023)

• Module 3: His Dark Materials in Context: The Amber Spyglass (January 2023)

His Dark Materials in Context: The Subtle Knife

Sir Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy is widely regarded as a modern classic, has been described by The New Statesman as “the most ambitious work since The Lord of the Rings,” and has been adapted onto stage, radio, and screen. The series is also deep and complex, drawing from a rich array of literary, philosophical, and theological ideas.

In this three-module series we will read, successively, the three novels in Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy, juxtaposing each with selected materials that will allow us to read Pullman’s work both on its own and in conversation with other works. Students can join one, two, or all three modules. There are no prerequisites.

• Module 1: His Dark Materials in Context: The Golden Compass (a.k.a. Northern Lights) (October 2023)

• Module 2: His Dark Materials in Context: The Subtle Knife (December 2023)

• Module 3: His Dark Materials in Context: The Amber Spyglass (January 2023)

Ink Spots and Tea Stains: What we Learn from C.S. Lewis's Writing Habits

C.S. Lewis is one of the most prolific and influential writers of the 20th century. And yet, in his early career as an Oxford don, he viewed himself as a failed poet. Moreover, his most canonical and transformational writing happened during the most stress-filled periods of his life. This short course allows students to peek into the writing life of C.S. Lewis. Our goal is to see through the lines of printed text by visiting the letters and archival remains of Lewis in a virtual setting. Most of C.S. Lewis's papers remain undigitized and unpublished, available only locally at archives in North America and England.

As Professor Brenton Dickieson has visited these archives, he is able to invite students to appreciate C.S. Lewis's writing life by looking at the way that he consciously and unconsciously built his literary career. This course is for writers who are developing their own habits and literary life-prints, as well as folks who are curious about C.S. Lewis's life beyond the biographies and bestselling books.

Introduction to Oscar Wilde's Fairy Tales: A House of Pomegranates

Poignant, hilarious, ironic, sad, beautiful, Oscar Wilde’s literary fairy tales evoke vivid and intense imagery and discuss topics such as social status, wealth, and Christianity. In these modules, we will read and discuss Oscar Wilde’s fairy tales. We will talk about the plot, characters, specific nuances of the language, use of irony, and symbolism. We will also discuss stories that influenced some of the tales, especially Andersen’s tales such as “The Little Mermaid,” “The Shadow,” “The Darning Needle,” and others.

This module is part of a two-module series, but each one stands alone and is independent from the other. In the first module, we will talk about the fairy tales from The Happy Prince and Other Tales, and in the second module we will discuss A House of Pomegranates.
Precepted by Pilar Barrera

Introduction to Oscar Wilde's Fairy Tales: The Happy Prince and Other Tales

Poignant, hilarious, ironic, sad, beautiful, Oscar Wilde’s literary fairy tales evoke vivid and intense imagery and discuss topics such as social status, wealth, and Christianity. In these modules, we will read and discuss Oscar Wilde’s fairy tales. We will talk about the plot, characters, specific nuances of the language, use of irony, and symbolism. We will also discuss stories that influenced some of the tales, especially Andersen’s tales such as “The Little Mermaid,” “The Shadow,” “The Darning Needle,” and others.

This module is part of a two-module series, but each one stands alone and is independent from the other. In the first module, we will talk about the fairy tales from The Happy Prince and Other Tales, and in the second module we will discuss A House of Pomegranates.
Precepted by Pilar Barrera

Japanese Fairy Tales and Children's Literature

In this module we will talk about Japanese children’s literature and fairy tales and their connection to specific Japanese cultural aspects and values such as the acceptance of death and the imperfection of the world.
Precepted by Pilar Barrera

Le Guin's Earthsea Series Series of 3

Ursula K. Le Guin explores themes of power, love, nature, gender, art, politics, and more through her richly-developed world of Earthsea, drawing upon literary, philosophical, religious, and anthropological interests in doing so. We will walk on the islands of Earthsea and dive into its waters as we discover beloved, and maybe hidden or controversial, aspects of Le Guin’s masterpiece.

••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••
The Earthsea Series consists of 3 modules exploring a different Cycle of Le Guin's expansive work:
• Module 1 explores A Wizard of Earthsea and The Tombs of Atuan,
• Module 2 explores The Farthest Shore and Tehanu, and
• Module 3 explores The Other Wind and Tales from Earthsea
••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••
NOTE: Students can jump in at any month/part of the Series.

Precepted by Dr. Robert Steed

Le Guin's Earthsea Series: A Wizard of Earthsea and The Tombs of Atuan First in the Series

This present module is for Module 1 of the Earthsea Series, exploring A Wizard of Earthsea and The Tombs of Atuan.

Ursula K. Le Guin explores themes of power, love, nature, gender, art, politics, and more through her richly-developed world of Earthsea, drawing upon literary, philosophical, religious, and anthropological interests in doing so. We will walk on the islands of Earthsea and dive into its waters as we discover beloved, and maybe hidden or controversial, aspects of Le Guin’s masterpiece.

••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••
The Earthsea Series consists of 3 modules exploring a different Cycle of Le Guin's expansive work:
• Module 1 explores A Wizard of Earthsea and The Tombs of Atuan,
• Module 2 explores The Farthest Shore and Tehanu, and
• Module 3 explores The Other Wind and Tales from Earthsea
••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••
NOTE: Students can jump in at any month/part of the Series.

Precepted by Dr. Robert Steed

Le Guin's Earthsea Series: The Farthest Shore and Tehanu Continuing Series

This present module is for Module 2 of the Earthsea Series, exploring_The Farthest Shore_ and Tehanu.

Ursula K. Le Guin explores themes of power, love, nature, gender, art, politics, and more through her richly-developed world of Earthsea, drawing upon literary, philosophical, religious, and anthropological interests in doing so. We will walk on the islands of Earthsea and dive into its waters as we discover beloved, and maybe hidden or controversial, aspects of Le Guin’s masterpiece.

••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••
The Earthsea Series consists of 3 modules exploring a different Cycle of Le Guin's expansive work:
• Module 1 explores A Wizard of Earthsea and The Tombs of Atuan,
• Module 2 explores The Farthest Shore and Tehanu, and
• Module 3 explores The Other Wind and Tales from Earthsea
••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••
NOTE: Students can jump in at any month/part of the Series.

Precepted by Dr. Robert Steed

Le Guin's Earthsea Series: The Other Wind and Tales from Earthsea Continuing Series

This present module is for Module 3 of the Earthsea Series, exploring_The Other Wind_ and Tales from Earthsea.

Ursula K. Le Guin explores themes of power, love, nature, gender, art, politics, and more through her richly-developed world of Earthsea, drawing upon literary, philosophical, religious, and anthropological interests in doing so. We will walk on the islands of Earthsea and dive into its waters as we discover beloved, and maybe hidden or controversial, aspects of Le Guin’s masterpiece.

••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••
The Earthsea Series consists of 3 modules exploring a different Cycle of Le Guin's expansive work:
• Module 1 explores A Wizard of Earthsea and The Tombs of Atuan,
• Module 2 explores The Farthest Shore and Tehanu, and
• Module 3 explores The Other Wind and Tales from Earthsea
••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••
NOTE: Students can jump in at any month/part of the Series.

Precepted by Dr. Robert Steed

Meeting the Horned God of the Witches

The Horned God, alongside being modern paganism's most popular deity, enjoys a rich heritage in speculative fiction and popular culture. In this module, we will explore his ancient (and modern) origins, his appearances in both esoteric and popular literature, and his surprising role as an environmental figure. Throughout the module, students will gain familiarity with the four core figures that make up the Horned God (Pan, Cernunnos, the Sorcerer of Trois Freres, and Herne the Hunter), and key narratives associated with him. They will also have an opportunity to ponder the complex web of influences between modern paganism and speculative fiction.

This module builds on the work of Margaret Murray and the module 'The Witch-Cult Hypothesis', but does not require prior knowledge of the material covered there.
Precepted by Dr. Anna Milon

Narnia Book Club: Prince Caspian by C.S. Lewis

Join Ms. Elise for a cozy, relaxed Book Club as we read and discuss the magic of C.S. Lewis's Prince Caspian . In this Book Club style module, each participant comes to our Club meetings with their own reflections and discussion questions about the text. YOU guide the magic!

Narnia Book Club: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader by C.S. Lewis

Join Ms. Elise for a cozy, relaxed Book Club as we read and discuss the magic of C.S. Lewis's The Voyage of the Dawn Treader . In this Book Club style module, each participant comes to our Club meetings with their own reflections and discussion questions about the text. YOU guide the magic!

Nordic Madness: Exploring Children's Literature in Three Nordic Authors

In this module we will join the madness, adventure and melancholy of three famous Nordic authors: Hans Christian Andersen, Astrid Lindgren, and Tove Jansson. From the tragic unrequited love of a snowman to the crazy adventures of Pippi Longstocking and the Moomins, this module is a rollercoaster of emotions and beautiful imagery. You will need two books: Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Lindgren and Moominland Midwinter by Tove Jansson.
Precepted by Pilar Barrera

Reading L.M. Montgomery as Fantasy: Part 1: Anne of Green Gables

This course will be offered for the first time this October 2023 (Anne’s favourite month)

Within weeks of its 1908 publication, L.M. Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables became a bestseller. Over the years, this charming orphan story put Montgomery and her imaginative Prince Edward Island on a global map.

Despite the fact that Anne of Green Gables is Canada’s bestselling novel throughout the world—or because of it—Montgomery was ignored by the literati and scholarship. Montgomery was a public intellectual, the first female Canadian fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, and invested Officer of the Order of the British Empire. Still she was dismissed as “just” a children’s writer, a regionalist, or a woman. It was 25 years after Montgomery’s death before children’s literature and feminist scholars began to recover her work as worthy of study.

While there is a robust field of Montgomery scholarship, there are areas where our focus is sometimes too narrow. One of these is the category of “realistic” fiction. While there is a kind of verisimilitude about everyday life in the late Victorian era in her work, the realism is pressed to the margins of definition as Montgomery romanticizes the worlds she creates. And can we disagree that there is something magical about Anne herself? By changing our way of approach and by looking at Anne of Green Gables as a fantasy novel, what can we unveil in this classic novel?

Native Prince Edward Islander and Montgomery scholar Brenton Dickieson will lead students through a rereading of Anne of Green Gables using the lenses we use to study fantasy and speculative fiction with the goal of allowing one of the greatest living children’s books to live in new ways.

Russian Fairy Tales: Journeys, Quests, and Chicken Legs

In this module we will explore some of the most important Russian fairy tales, their archetypal characters, and beautiful imagery. We will travel to magical lands and meet incredible characters, even a talking pancake!
Precepted by Pilar Barrera

The Andre Norton Nebula Award

Join Dr. Sara Brown and Sparrow Alden as they read their way through the winners and nominees of the Andre Norton Nebula Award for Middle Grade and Young Adult Fiction. How do these books speak to their special audience? What do they reflect about changing society? How do they build or break down their readers' connection to modern culture? How do they use heritage and world mythology to bring their stories to life?

Each time this module is presented, we will choose two different Norton Award novels to read, enjoy, discuss, and analyze with various critical tools. Mostly we're going to read great books and have fun working to understand them at deeper and deeper levels.

The Dark is Rising Sequence Series

Susan Cooper’s classic fantasy series takes us into a world where the forces of the Light battle against those of the Dark, but these are also coming-of-age stories in which children are at the forefront of the conflict. Deeply rooted in the folklore of the British landscape, the narratives are often set in spaces encoded in ancient wisdom and traditions and employ, as Tolkien did in his legendarium, songs and verse that pass on those traditions.
Precepted by Dr. Sara Brown

The Dark is Rising Sequence 1: Over Sea, Under Stone First in the Series

Susan Cooper’s classic fantasy series takes us into a world where the forces of the Light battle against those of the Dark, but these are also coming-of-age stories in which children are at the forefront of the conflict. Deeply rooted in the folklore of the British landscape, the narratives are often set in spaces encoded in ancient wisdom and traditions and employ, as Tolkien did in his legendarium, songs and verse that pass on those traditions.

In this book, the first of the series, Cooper introduces us to the folklore of Cornwall, interweaving ancient customs with a modern confrontation against forces of evil. In this class, we will explore all the themes and ideas in the story and consider what it still has to say to us in the 21st century.
Precepted by Dr. Sara Brown

The Minoans and Modernity: Minotaurs, Labyrinths, and Other Myths

When one thinks of ancient, pre-classical civilisations, one thinks of Sumerians, Egyptians, Hittites, and, not least, Minoans. The Minoan civilisation, discovered around 1900 by English archaeologist Sir Arthur Evans, has often been styled as the first major European civilisation, equally proficient in technology and the arts, with a sea empire spanning across the Eastern Aegean. But how much of what we imagine about the Minoans is truthful and how much is modern mythmaking?

In this module, we will examine the immense impact which the discovery of Minoan Crete and its integration with the classical myths of the Minotaur and the Labyrinth has had on literature, movies, the arts, and even computer games. We will examine the works of Sir Arthur Evans, Pablo Picasso, Nikos Kazantzakis, Robert Graves, Mary Renault, Poul Anderson, and Stephen King, among others. In so doing, we will explore such key 'Minoan' concepts and phenomena as: the sublime, utopianism, feminism, irrationality and the unconscious, mythmaking, and European identity.

The Witch in Fact and Fiction

The witch contains a multitude of meanings, from victim to agent of political resistance to a paragon of magical power. While the witch is overtly present in modern media, her origins are often obscured. Is the witch always female? Where does her magic come from? And who devised the eight annual pagan festivals? This module uses Steve Hutton's Raven's Wand fantasy novel (and Book 1 of his Dark Raven Chronicles series) as a starting point to discuss how witches are depicted in fiction and history, and what witches themselves have to say about that.

The Dark Raven Chronicles offer an engaging overview of the main trends for depicting witches in speculative fiction. On our journey through the book, we will discuss what historical details and popular assumptions the author draws on, and how they compare to the lives of people accused of witchcraft in the past, and those who identify as witches today.
Precepted by Dr. Anna Milon

Utopias and Dystopias in The Fellowship of the Ring

Based on Hamish's recently published book Tolkien's Utopianism and the Classics, this new module takes us on a tour of utopian and dystopian places in The Fellowship of the Ring, journeying through the pastoral bliss of the Shire, the sublime encounter in Woody End, the perilous Old Forest, the abandoned ruins at Weathertop, Elrond's paradise in Rivendell, the abandoned wilderness in Hollin, the undergound realm of Moria, and the timeless utopia of Lothlorien. In every class, our approach will be to read together important passages and discuss the representations of different spaces and societies in Tolkien's Fellowship of the Ring.

Video Game Studies

Inviting students to share their delight in, and deepen their appreciation of, video games, we will discuss examples of the art, music, gameplay, and story from a range of influential titles. We will introduce and experiment with some of the theoretical frameworks that have been applied to video games as media objects and cultural artifacts. But mostly, we will enjoy learning more about the medium and the games we already love. Aside from links and selections shared throughout the module, Gabrielle Zevin's novel Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow. will be the only required reading.
Precepted by Wesley Schantz

Writers' Workshop: The Different Body Problem

It's a sometimes inconvenient fact that characters have bodies, and sometimes, those bodies directly affect the stories we write about them. Writing characters who live in bodies that do not perform according to the cultural standard is a skill like any other part of the writer's craft.

In this course, we will look at examples from literature of how authors have dealt with what we usually call disabilities. Some have done well, others have materially harmed people with their writing.

We will also work with one another to hone our craft as writers who are telling stories so that we can find the new and inspirational, while leaving behind the worn-out clichés that make the lives of people like your preceptor materially harder.

Note: Texts will be provided by the preceptor.

Note: For more information about the Collaborative Feedback Method in SPACE, please check out our video here.
If you have any questions about the SPACE program, please reach out to [email protected].