Article List by Author

Theseus Loses his Way: Viktor Pelevin’s Helmet of Horror and the Old Labyrinth for the New World

Alison Traweek
University of Pennsylvania
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA



This article explores the relationship between the myth of Theseus and the Minotaur, and Viktor Pelevin’s 2006 adaptation of it, The Helmet of Horror, particularly how it can serve as a case study for the nature and significance of adaptation. It examines the idea of memory, a central theme of the novel, and considers how three aspects of the original myth – the Minotaur, Ariadne’s thread, and the labyrinth itself – shape and inform Pelevin’s retelling. Each of these is unique to this myth in antiquity, and together, they structure the story. Each is also fundamentally connected to the idea of memory: the Minotaur is a living reminder of Pasiphae’s transgression, Ariadne’s thread is the mnemonic that allows Theseus to escape, and the labyrinth is a structure whose very nature is designed to challenge memory by creating confusion. Continue Reading →

300 and Fellini-Satyricon: Film Theory in the Tertiary Classroom

Leanne Glass
The University of Newcastle
Newscastle, Callaghan, Australia



Pedagogical practices in Reception-based courses on ancient Greece and Rome in film often focus on an individual film’s connections to its historical themes and meta-narrative. In contrast, courses based on Film Studies often focus pedagogical discourses on filmic techniques or the filmmaking process per se. Regularly, the two approaches remain discrete and discipline-based. Continue Reading →

The Labyrinth of Memory: Iphigeneia, Simonides, and Classical Models of Architecture as Mind in Chris Nolan’s Inception (2010) [1]

Benjamin Haller
Virginia Wesleyan College
Norfolk, Virginia, USA



Chris Nolan’s 2010 film Inception uses architecture as a language whereby to comment upon the relationship of the protagonist, Dom Cobb, with his deceased wife, Mal. This paper argues that three classical models – Homer’s tomb of Myrhine described in the Iliad, Iphigeneia’s dream of the collapse of the house of Agamemnon in Euripides’s Iphigeneia Among the Taurians, and Simonides’ Memory Palace mnemonic technique – manifest parallel uses of architecture as a metaphor for mind. Continue Reading →

Ovid and Mel Gibson: Power, Vulnerability, and What Women Want

Geoff Bakewell
Rhodes College
Memphis, Tennessee, USA



Knowledge of Ovid is invaluable for analyzing Nancy Meyers’s film What Women Want (2000).  Advertising executive Nick Marshall (Mel Gibson) is a sexist, chauvinistic ladies’ man who acquires the ability to hear what women are thinking. He is in effect a second Tiresias, and this article examines him in light of the gender-bending seer from the Metamorphoses. Meyers links Nick’s miraculous transformation to his attempt to listen to women while simultaneously cross-dressing. He subsequently becomes an intermediary between the genders, especially on sexual matters. The article further examines the Nick/Tiresias parallel in light of Ovid’s treatment of other Theban myths in Book 3.  Like Pentheus, Actaeon, and Narcissus, Nick is a frequent practitioner of the voyeuristic “gaze.” And like them, he is both deeply narcissistic and sorely lacking when it comes to self-knowledge.

Continue Reading →

Experiments in Love: Longus’ Daphnis & Chloe and Henry de Vere Stacpoole’s The Blue Lagoon 1

Kirsten Day
Augustana College
Rock Island, Illinois, USA 



Despite a chronological gulf of nearly two thousand years, the second century C.E. Greek romance writer Longus and the early twentieth century Irish novelist Henry de Vere Stacpoole were prompted to produce their best works by a similar motive: an urge to explore the world, and particularly the phenomenon of love and desire, from a standpoint of complete innocence. Although the resulting novels, Daphnis & Chloe and The Blue Lagoon respectively, have no evident direct connection, they exhibit surprising similarities not only in plot, setting, and characterization, but also in the values, perspectives, and worldviews they advance. The striking intersections between these two chronologically and geographically diverse works offer us a lens for examining persistent notions of “natural” versus learned masculinity and femininity, for exploring the dynamics behind patriarchal power structures, and for scrutinizing how these issues relate to ideas about the value and merits of civilization. Moreover, analysis of the features common to Longus’ work and the Blue Lagoon narrative, particularly as it is manifested in Randal Kleiser’s 1980 film adaptation of the novel, can serve as a useful pedagogical tool as well. By utilizing an accessible product of popular culture to bring a little-known ancient Greek novel to life, this comparison helps to drive home the persistence of ideologies and power structures that initially seem remote and thus suggests to today’s students the continuing relevance of works from classical antiquity in our modern world in a way that looking at the ancient work in isolation – or even in conjunction with its more direct descendants – cannot. Continue Reading →

Graphic Novel Review — The Adventures of Johnny Bunko: The Last Career Guide You’ll Ever Need

Pink, Daniel H., and Rob Ten Pas. The Adventures of Johnny Bunko: The Last Career Guide You’ll Ever Need. New York: Penguin, 2008. Print.

Robert G. Weiner
Texas Tech University
Lubbock, Texas, USA


In the world of higher education, the last 10 years have seen an explosion in the scholarly study of sequential art, sometimes dubbed comics studies. The present number of courses related to comics is probably triple what it was 20 years ago: courses from the freshman to the graduate level, courses in departments as varied as History, Sociology, Film, Gender and Race Studies, Communication, Art, Electronic Media, and Philosophy. The study of comics is where the study of films was 30 years ago. The rise in scholarly monographs has exploded, and there are numerous academic journals devoted to the subject with more popping up all the time. Comic studies, currently, is a popular topic for academics to discuss, teach, and write about. Continue Reading →

Video Game Review — Final Fantasy XIV: Level Up Forever

Brian Cowlishaw
Northeastern State University
Tahlequah, Oklahoma, USA


After a disastrous premature release, a complete design and programming team change, and a sweeping revision of battle and interface systems that continued until the very last minute, Final Fantasy XIV (FFXIV) is at last online for good now and humming along smoothly. This addition to gaming’s most legendary franchise is rich, beautiful, addictive, and just plain fun. Final Fantasy XIV is so very well put together, such a massive time suck, such a brilliant combination of story, franchise-history, and gameplay elements that upon close inspection its true nature becomes clear: FFXIV is a work of evil calculating corporate genius that will conquer us all. Continue Reading →

Dialogue Journal Update

Volume 1, Issue 1 Update:

Currently we are in the process of collecting and editing content in order to debut our upcoming issue at the Southwest Popular/American Culture Association conference February 19-22, 2014 in Albuquerque, NM.

Though the specifics may change slightly in the coming weeks, we anticipate 10 articles on the relationship between the Classics and Contemporary Popular Culture, an introduction from the guest editors and an introduction from the editorial team. Keep your eyes open for more news in the near future about this inaugural issue!

Lynnea Chapman King, Editor in Chief and Anna CohenMiller, Managing Editor