Five undergrads. Four weeks. Three braincells (we have to share). Two geese (they’re married, and we’re very happy for them). One goal.
What happens when you get five nerds and a supervisor who has too much faith in them in a room together? You get academic anarchy, and it’s all Ovid’s fault.
Our esteemed supervisors, Dr. Lorenza Bennardo and Dr. Rebecca Moorman, set out with the noble endeavor to investigate subaltern aesthetics in Latin literature and contemporary media, with the goal of producing public facing scholarship. Referring to marginal states of being (i.e. womanhood, deprivation, victimhood), the project seeks to relate ancient depictions of aesthetic impoverishment with similar instances in modern media using an accessible medium.
That’s where we come in.
As members of the “kids these days” with an interest in Classics, we are in a unique position to combine our fresh perspective with the old, dusty material that has been studied for the last 2000 years. Respecting our roots as broke college students, our goal is to bring this project into the public eye (for free!). We’re sick of articles that are too expensive and obscure to be read by the general population, and now we’re taking matters into our own hands. You’re welcome.
This blog is a compendium of hot takes focusing on comparisons between Ovid’s Metamorphoses and Heroides and modern media: from Love Island and 70s slashers to modern novels and Studio Ghibli, and even Game of Thrones. Brace yourselves.
In all honesty, we never intended to start with Ovid. We just ended up there. Aside from our minimal attention spans, the short stories were easier to digest, analyze, and make accessible to a wide audience. We initially connected with the centrality of female characters in his work, which drew us further into a rabbit hole of literary devices, metaphors, and creative verse. If we put aside the amount of children that get eaten, Ovid’s stories sparked emotional responses that reminded us of our favourite modern media.
Ovid was a literary powerhouse of his time, so it makes sense that we see elements of mass-consumed modern media in his work, and vice versa. While most media that reflects his works aren’t directly inspired by poems like the Metamorphoses, the themes, imagery, and emotions are still directly relevant. Reflecting on the changes in media over time, our project diverges into two branches, exploring either the degradation or the subversion of these themes through modern adaptations.
" Ovid’s stories sparked emotional responses that reminded us of our favourite modern media."
Basically a program for nerds like us
The Scholars-in-Residence (SiR) program is an intensive, 4-week paid research fellowship in humanities and humanistic social-science research for upper-year undergraduates. We would like to thank the Jackman Humanities Institute and the University of Toronto Mississauga for this wonderful opportunity. We would also like to express our deepest gratitude to Dr. Bennardo and Dr. Moorman for their guidance and support in this project.
Although we all created our own blog posts, this project was very collaborative as we worked together through every stage - from brainstorming ideas to proofreading our blogs. From morning runs to Timmies before our research sessions to playing badminton and spending our evenings chatting in the residence common room, we had an unforgettable time creating these blogs. We hope you enjoy reading them!