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Lecture

9lecture1780bpygmalion09SU.pdf

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Department
Economics
Course Code
ECON 4400
Professor
All

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Lecture 9 Clements 1 School of Arts and Letters, Atkinson Faculty of Liberal and Professional Studies Summer 2009 AK/HUMA 1780 6.0A Stories in Diverse Media ANNOUNCEMENTS: Reminder: please check your yorku.ca email account regularly for this course as this is the email to which course material is sent. Your assignments will be emailed back to you at this account, for example. I have been informed by OCTES that the uploading problems have been resolved. Because of these issues I will extend the deadline for submission. Please upload your assignment no later than 11:59pm on Tuesday, July 7. Visit the following website to submit your assignment: http://www.yorku.ca/laps/disted/coversheetweb.htm OCTES asks that students who continue to experience issues contact them directly at 416-736-5831 for assistance. Also please be patient with the assignment return. I am the only Professor for this course of 80 students. There are a lot of questions posed for discussion in todays lecture and lecture summary. As usual you do not need to answer all of them. Choose the ones that interest you the most and make comments to which your classmates can respond and engage in discussion. Next Monday is the midterm test. For more information please see the Midterm Test Format outline in the Exam Information folder. Lecture 9 Clements 2 Art Objects and their Makers: The Pygmalion Myth Transformed Last week I talked about Ovid's and Shaw's versions of the Pygmalion story. Today, we'll start by looking at a series of paintings by the pre-Raphaelite painter, Edward Burne-Jones. You will also need to view a few scenes from Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loewe's musical My Fair Lady. On Thursday you will need to watch Deepa Mehta's Bollywood/Hollywood. Both the films should be available at your local video store; the Sound and Moving Image Library (SMIL) at York's Scott Library also has copies of both films. We established a few things about Ovid's original last week. The story foregrounds a number of ideas and themes. The first would be the theme of transformation (from something unformed or inanimate into a living being). As I mentioned, this is a larger theme that runs throughout Ovid's Metamorphoses, hence the title. Coming out of this theme is the issue of the process of artistic creation: the artist and his art object. Thirdly, the myth explores the themes of perfection and idealization. The creation (the sculpture) is so perfect that it comes alive. The story also implicitly asks, what is the ideal woman? It then proceeds to give us one answer in the form of the bejeweled Galatea. What it means to be female is set up right at the start as the story begins with Pygmalion's rejection of the women of Cyprus whom he describes as "whores." They are his reason for swearing off women altogether. Shaw also picks up on this misogyny with Higgins' treatment of Eliza Doolittle and Lerner and Loewe capitalize on it in one of their songs titled "With a Little Bit of Luck." In the myth it is Pygmalion's dislike of these women that gives him the inspiration to create his ideal image of a woman as a sculpture. Lecture 9 Clements 3 Another theme we could add to our list would be obsession, similar to what we encountered with the character, Salome, but this time it is the male figure who is obsessed with his own art object. Ovid's Pygmalion, like Salome and her obsession with John the Baptist's head in later versions, actually dresses his sculpture up and sleeps with the statue in his bed: "yet greater beauty/ Shone from her nakedness in bed; he called her/ His bride, his wife, the fair white creature sleeping/ On cloth of purple, as if she shared his dreams" (Ovid 281) and this is all before she's even alive! But you'll notice this isn't the moment that is emphasized in the play, the musical, or, as you will see, in the paintings by Burne-Jones. Typically, it is the male figure's artistry that becomes central to the story and the moment when his art comes to life. Similarly, as we saw with Salome, some aspects from the source text carry over to the various adaptations, but many elements do not. In Shaw's version several of the same themes persistart and artistry, the love story, and the theme of transformationbut the obsession element seems to be less prevalent. So in this lecture we're going to look at two more versions to see what happens to those themes, as well as the various permutations of the characters. We'll start by looking at another pre-Raphaelite: Edward Burne-Jones (1833-1898). We learned several things about the Pre-Raphaelite painters from the nineteenth century in our third class in which we examined visual representations of The Odyssey. You'll remember that there are two groups and that the first one was characterized by seriousness of purpose a desire to see things with fresh eyes intensity of expressionchallenged academic good manners
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