Once, a curious girl lit a candle and beheld her husband. Once, a god stole his bride and fed her pomegranate seeds in a world with no sun. Once, a hero sought a beast in the center of a labyrinth.

The stories we tell ourselves have echoes. Sometimes they seem distant or unimportant, but we come back to them again and again. Why do they haunt us? Why do they still resonate, even when their meanings change? We see the strength and wisdom of Athena in the young girl leading her classmates toward revolutionary change. We retell the tale of how Demeter lost Persephone to express the twinge of pain a mother feels at her daughter’s wedding. We hear the enchantment of Orpheus in a pop song stuck in our skull for weeks at a time.

The curious girl was burned, but she searched the world until she found her lost husband once more. The god lost his love, and gained her. A hero can slay a beast but can never stop death.

Mingling the voices of lost tellers, inky pages, and tattered threads, The Carterhaugh School has woven a new course on “Myth and Mythic Adaptation.” Over the course of six weeks, we will share video lectures and some of our favorite mythic readings. Together, we will discuss some of the most foundational stories of Greek mythology and the literary retellings they have inspired. Uncovering context and meaning through the use of folkloristic tools, you will learn both to analyze these stories academically and how to relish and unleash them creatively.

“The best kind of teacher is someone who is passionate about what they are teaching: not just in a scholarly sense, but a personal one. Sara Cleto and Brittany Warman both love fairy tales. They live and breathe folklore and magical tales from centuries past. However, they are also both that rare combination: someone who has both a personal passion and professional knowledge on the subject.”
Grace Nuth

At Carterhaugh, we craft our courses to be both academically rigorous and open to enchantment. We take folklore seriously – hell, we’ve been studying it at six different universities over the last fifteen years, and we love and respect this strange and wonderful little discipline that might best be described as the bastard child of English and anthropology. We built Carterhaugh to bring the study of folklore beyond the ivory tower (across the moat but still on the estate), and we’ve flung open the doors to the curious seekers and creators who feel stories quickening in their fingertips and behind their eyelashes. You’ll be learning from two highly trained folklorists, literary scholars, creative writers, and embarrassingly enthusiastic readers. As your teachers and guides, we will help you recognize and navigate the briars of misinformation – they are encroaching, well-camouflaged, and absolutely everywhere in the magical realm of the Internet – and all the different ways to evaluate a story’s “truth.”

If, like us, you grew up wishing you could enroll in “Defense Against the Dark Arts” at Hogwarts, take classes at Unseen University, or get accepted to the school for wizards on the island of Roke, welcome to our sanctuary for witches and wizards whose owls were tardy.

~ Curious, but not quite ready to enroll? Click here to receive a free Grimoire page and get a taste of our magic! ~^ Your owl has arrived ;).

Your Teachers:

We, Sara Cleto and Brittany Warman, are both PhD candidates in English and Folklore who are wrapping up our dissertations. We specialize in folk narrative – folk tales, myths, and legends – and fairy tales, especially the creepy ones, are our passion. We have published academic articles and reviews in Marvels & Tales: The Journal of Fairy-Tale Studies, Supernatural Studies, Humanities, Gramarye: The Journal of the Sussex Center for Folklore, Fairy Tales, and Fantasy, the book Channeling Wonder: Fairy Tales on Television, the encyclopedia Folktales and Fairy Tales: Traditions and Texts from Around the World, and many more. Sara’s dissertation explores how folklore creates and shapes discourses of disability in nineteenth-century British literature – for example, she explores how the character of Watho the witch in George MacDonald’s literary fairy tale “The Day Boy and the Night Girl” intersects with and complicates the late Victorian “mad” scientist trope. Brittany’s dissertation argues that there is an understudied link between folklore and Gothic literature that reveals a great deal about the “dark” side of fairy tales and fairy legends we always seem to “return to” in contemporary retellings.

We love teaching – we get to geek out about the weirdest, most wonderful stories, and we get to watch our students create their own magic with what they learn. We want our classes to reflect the joy we get out of the strange and delightful world of folklore, so expect apropos gifs, ridiculous illustrations, and/or terrible puns in our lectures. We’re also best friends, so we will occasionally make horrible faces at each other, make fun of each other, and laugh like drunken pixies.

In addition to academic writing, we are also creative writers who draw on folkloric material in our work. You can read some of our published material at journals like Uncanny Magazine, Faerie Magazine, Mythic Delirium, Goblin Fruit, Stone Telling, Apex Magazine, Liminality Magazine, and many others. Collectively, we’ve been nominated six times for the Rhysling Award, including two of our 2017 collaborations, “Waking” at Liminality Magazine and “An Announcement” at Uncanny Magazine.

Sometimes, we also make folklore-inspired jewelry or crowns studded with birds or stews made from twelve different kinds of vegetables. Our natural habitats include second-handbook stores, airplanes, and really divey karaoke bars where we sing like sirens or harpies, depending on the season.

The “Myth and Mythic Adaptation” course content will be conducted through video lectures that will be accessible on the dates listed below, but all the materials will be yours to download and interact with whenever you choose. You do not need to be present when a lesson is posted – you can watch it at your convenience. Full payment must be complete by the time registration closes on July 12th at midnight. In addition to 5 video lectures, this course also features a bonus 6th lesson devoted to Madeline Miller’s new novel Circe and held live via CrowdCast. The 6th lesson will be the only video that is aired live. We recommend watching (and participating!) in that lesson, but if you cannot, you can watch a recording of the lesson at a later time. You will receive more information about this closer to the event.

What You Will Get:

1. A video lecture for each lesson from Sara and Brittany (45 minutes to an hour long). The first 5 will be pre-recorded and released each Friday of the course. The 6th will take place live, but the recording will be available to watch immediately after we air.

2. The PowerPoint presentation featured in each video lesson. Each of these includes images, information, and a ‘further reading’ slide.

3. A PDF “grimoire page” summary of each lesson evoking pages torn from an old spell book (click here for more information about these!)

4. All supplementary reading for each lesson (in PDF or link form)

5. Access to our private Facebook group for the course, where you can interact with fellow students, ask questions, share fun things, and generally get to know Sara, Brittany, and each other. These groups are always one of the best parts of Carterhaugh courses!

6. Exclusive access to our “book club” live CrowdCast event (lesson 6)

7. Personal feedback on one completed final project (if desired)

8. A special course completion certificate upon submission of your final project

9. A welcome letter and various course e-mails

ALL of the downloadable material will be yours to keep for personal use!

What Is NOT Included:

To participate fully in lesson 6, you will need to purchase a copy of Circe by Madeline Miller for your own use. Any edition is fine and the hardcover version is currently $16.20 (new) and at little as $11.40 (used) on Amazon! You can also buy the Kindle or Nook version for $13.99.

These two experienced folklorists are ambassadors to an enchanted realm of story and song, throwing open the carved wooden doors with a generosity of spirit and a passion for the fantastic that carries you right along with them. They love what they do; as your guides, they will delightedly show you how to engage with all things folkloric—and how to see those things in the world around you.”
Shveta Thakrar

How much does it cost?:

This course is one payment of $200, two payments of $100, or four payments of $50.

This course has finished – please sign up for our newsletter or follow us on social media to be informed when our next live class opens!

Is this graded? How much work will this be?:

We recommend setting aside 2-3 hours each week to view the lectures, do the readings, and participate in the Facebook discussion group. This can vary wildly from person to person – we’ve had some students read our entire recommended reading list and comment extensively in discussion, while others opted out of the Facebook discussion altogether and skimmed the reading. Both extremes enjoyed the course!

While the final project is not required, we encourage you to complete it! Carterhaugh is at its best when you take the knowledge you’ve gained over the course and transmute it into something that is your own.

There are three different paths we have charted for a Carterhaugh final project –

The Path of the Scholar: The path of the scholar can resemble a final college paper or personal essay. On this path, you interact with the material from a scholarly or personal perspective, drawing on additional sources or your own reactions and analysis. Curious about the history of mirrors in fairy tales? Do you want to reflect on your last relationship through “Eros and Psyche”? This is your path.

The Path of the Writer: The path of the writer is designed for those who love to write poetry, fiction, etc. as a way of interacting with new material. Hated the story of “Hades and Persephone” and want to work through your reaction through poetry? We want to read your hate verse! Want to write a screenplay featuring the Greek gods as college freshmen? Yes please!

The Path of the Artist: The path of the artist is for those of you who would like to take a more material approach to the texts we discuss. We have had so many extraordinary creative projects from those who chose to follow the path of the artist, from embroidered dresses, to dolls, to jewelry. Our artists have used materials ranging from clay, silk, straw, and lacquered chicken feet to interpret their favorite tales. Show us Persephone’s pomegranate in jewels or paint. Teach us Orpheus’s song in notes or wood.

These are only three suggested paths… but there are many ways through the woods after all! We have had former students create their own paths, which have been transformative and delightful. Take a look at our “Final Project Showcase” page to see the range of possibility and inspiration.

Again, personal feedback on completed final assignments is available upon request – even if you don’t want feedback, we would love to see what how you transformed the material and hear about what inspires you!

“I’ve but one disappointment in this course: that this amazing journey through the world of fairy isn’t never-ending! I confess I’ve grown addicted to the arrival of your well-crafted magics twice each week, not to mention the stimulating discourse it triggers in the private group. When I signed up I expected interesting content, but the conversations and friendships formed through the private group page were an unexpected delight – one I’m deeply grateful for.
Laura Saba

~ Excited but still a little hesitant? Click here to receive a free Grimoire page and get an idea of the kind of magic we teach! ~

Please see our tentative course schedule below!

Lesson 1 – Introduction to Greek Myth and Mythic Fiction
+ Orpheus & Eurydice
Posted July 13th

Lesson 2 – Hades & Persephone
Posted July 20th

Lesson 3 – Pan
Posted July 27th

Lesson 4 – Cupid & Psyche
Posted August 3rd

Lesson 5 – In the Labyrinth
Posted August 10th

BONUS Lesson 6 – Book Club Day featuring Circe by Madeline Miller
LIVE on August 17th!

Please note that, aside from lesson 6 (for which we will choose a time that is best for the majority of students), these are simply the dates that materials will be e-mailed and posted in the private Facebook group! You will be able to download everything and watch whenever is most convenient to you. The download links will remain active for a year, and we will let you know before removing anything from our database!

Ready to sign up? Welcome to Carterhaugh!

This course has finished – please sign up for our newsletter or follow us on social media to be informed when our next live class opens!

~ Love the idea of Carterhaugh but can’t commit to this course? Click here to receive a free Grimoire page and sign up for our newsletter so that you can get all the news about new courses and other Carterhaugh opportunities! ~