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Mythgard Academy

Author: Mythgard Institute

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Mythgard Academy aims to make engaging discussions of fantasy and science fiction literature free and open to everyone. The Mythgard Academy program features live discussions with Dr. Corey Olsen, The Tolkien Professor, and other experts on speculative fiction. Books are nominated and voted on by our supporters, and recordings are available for free via podcast and the Signum University YouTube channel.
344 Episodes
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Welcome to Luna, here is your narrator, Mannie, a free born, old cobber with one arm who’s not on Authority’s payroll. Look him up and down. He comes from complicated Loonie heritage, belongs to a line marriage, has a clear attitude against Authority and Warden, and a subtle attitude against Terra and Earthworms. He switches arms and jobs with resilience, faces extreme hardships on Luna or Terra, and machines really like him. That is dinkum. ‘Cause Luna is a hostile place. Life is not default. Survival is gift. Bad actors don’t live long in Luna. And everything about what enables survival here is the approval and active protection of the community. That and being a not-stupid. For more information about the Mythgard Academy series on The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, visit https://mythgard.org/academy/the-moon-is-a-harsh-mistress/
MSA028: Inferno, Class 24

MSA028: Inferno, Class 24

2021-05-1902:43:17

Week 24: And so we finish our tour of Hell and arrive at the crux of the world where we find Dante has been affected deeply by his travels at all three levels of his allegorical structure, and where Dante again faints, and where we also strengthen our understanding of the Medieval knowledge of World Geography. In Virgil’s capable hands the inversion principle moves us through Satan’s nether parts to the next realm, and we are free from the Inferno and the stars come out. For more information about the Mythgard Academy series on Dante's Inferno, visit https://mythgard.org/academy/inferno/
MSA028: Inferno, Class 23

MSA028: Inferno, Class 23

2021-05-0801:47:02

Week 23: Where Dante succumbs to the lure of base arguments and wishes he was merely in a dream. And where a bugle blast messes with Dante’s vision, and towers become giants, and not nice ones either. And Dante’s absolute terror returns and his wish to be anywhere else but the road to Hell. But Virgil trades Dante’s fame card for a ride in Antaeus fist into the dark, frozen well. There Dante’s hubris returns in time to help him harass and abuse the sinners; so much for pity and so much for brotherhood. Dante should take care not to betray his guide; we will return with ours next week as Dr. Olsen promises an end to this tour of Hell. For more information about the Mythgard Academy series on Dante's Inferno, visit https://mythgard.org/academy/inferno/
MSA028: Inferno, Class 22

MSA028: Inferno, Class 22

2021-04-1601:36:23

In which we complete our tour of the Malebolge with a rather crowded tenth pouch
MSA028: Inferno, Class 21

MSA028: Inferno, Class 21

2021-04-1001:40:45

In which we meet people with various kinds of bodily integrity issues.
MSA028: Inferno, Class 20

MSA028: Inferno, Class 20

2021-04-0301:53:101

Week 20: Where we call bologna on Dante’s talent curbing and clearly see the simple summer simile. Where with Ulysses we pass the columns, and the poles, and founder on the shores of Mount Purgatory having found the earth round. Where we hear that one cannot logically be absolved before, or during, the commission of an evil deed or counsel. Sorry, not sorry, or something like that, Minos judges. And Dante litters his own path with cautionary examples; there but for the ‘rock’ goes he. For more information about the Mythgard Academy series on Dante's Inferno, visit https://mythgard.org/academy/inferno/
MSA028: Inferno, Class 19

MSA028: Inferno, Class 19

2021-03-2801:32:07

\Week 19: A Place Among the Classics In the seventh pocket of the eighth circle, the fraudulent thieves are beset with snakes. Dante calls them all serpents, but some have six legs, and some none; some are caliente, peppercorn serpents, and some are winged, fiery dragons; some are smoking, and some are boring. Later, while describing the transformations from snake to thief and thief to snake, Dante disses Ovid and Lucan, two poets he wished to be named with back in Limbo. For more information about the Mythgard Academy series on Dante's Inferno, visit https://mythgard.org/academy/inferno/​
MSA028: Inferno, Class 18

MSA028: Inferno, Class 18

2021-03-2001:49:10

Guess what sin is punished by snakes. And cyclical incineration.
MSA028: Inferno, Class 17

MSA028: Inferno, Class 17

2021-03-1401:46:20

Week 17: Now into the second half of the Malebolge, we look back at the closing line of Canto 21 and The Comedy's lack of humor. Then on to Canto 23, where Aesop’s frog and mouse story is called upon to warn Dante against trusting too closely the partnership of Demons. And Virgil luges Dante down the rocky slope, making a quick escape from pocket 5 to 6, where they try to hide among the lead-lined, golden-robed hypocrites. For more information about the Mythgard Academy series on Dante's Inferno, visit https://mythgard.org/academy/inferno/
MSA028: Inferno, Class 16

MSA028: Inferno, Class 16

2021-03-0701:50:19

Tonight we encounter some really ... unexpected demons. What under the earth is going on here?
MSA028: Inferno, Class 15

MSA028: Inferno, Class 15

2021-03-0101:52:47

Week 15: We revisit the Baptistery of San Giovanni and notice the inversions in Dante’s destroying holy furniture to save a life while the popes destroy lives to save holy money for themselves. But what is with all the feet? And do you think Boniface saw the funny side of his little cameo, or would he be depressed in determinism like his predecessor having perverted the mechanism of forgiveness and having then no path to repentance? And here Virgil the ghost grabs Dante the flesh-man and poltergeists him back to the bridge, to the fifth ditch, the rampart of the Fortune Tellers. Where Dante cranes his own head to see the parade of backward-headed shades and sheds a tear for those who weep as their fate. And Virgil rebukes Dante, and Dante corrects Virgil, and one is ready to trust the poets again. For more information about the Mythgard Academy series on Dante's Inferno, visit https://mythgard.org/academy/inferno/
MSA028: Inferno, Class 14

MSA028: Inferno, Class 14

2021-02-2101:47:29

Week 14: True to the nature of Fraud, the 8th circle is an artificial construct of inverted imagery split into 10 concentric pockets, with bridges that look down upon each trench. The first pocket is a gender discriminated container for pimps and seducers, a sex traffic kept moving by demons with whips. The second pocket is an egalitarian circle of very rude words (What? Would you like to sugar coat with flowery language the circle of flattery?). The third pocket is for spiritual pimps, the fraud of simony, punished in inversions of baptismal fonts with sprinklings of fire on feet. The core of these three - the pimps, the seducers, and the flatterers - is treating people as beasts for their own gain. O see what Dante did there. Then, with one mention of Dante’s guilt at breaking the Baptistry of Saint John, the session ends with an internet crash. For more information about the Mythgard Academy series on Dante's Inferno, visit https://mythgard.org/academy/inferno/
MSA028: Inferno, Class 13

MSA028: Inferno, Class 13

2021-02-2102:05:55

Week 13: At the waterfall edge of the 7th circle Dante gives up his belt to conjure a ride. What is the truth which seems a lie? Poetic allegory of course. For Dante breaks the 4th wall to give his poem a name, Comedy, and to swear that he saw a beast swim in the air up the waterfall. Geryon is the impossible thing, but that’s ok, he’s a fraud. No, he’s The Fraud and through his depiction we see the truth. Fraud or no, the brute animal is the only way down into the 8th circle. And even with the command to be strong and daring, Dante is afraid like Phaethon and Icarus as Geryon descends. For more information about the Mythgard Academy series on Dante's Inferno, visit https://mythgard.org/academy/inferno/
MSA028: Inferno, Class 12

MSA028: Inferno, Class 12

2021-02-2101:51:08

Dante Finds Himself Among Friends Week 12: There are no poor people in rings 8 and 9 of the 7th circle of Hell, but no one sees clearly either. Dante condescends to walk and talk with his old teacher Brunetto and stops to let three wealthy Florentine nobles ask for news from home. But everything about this tableau is inverted and full of oblique references. For more information about the Mythgard Academy series on Dante's Inferno, visit https://mythgard.org/academy/inferno/
MSA028: Inferno, Class 11

MSA028: Inferno, Class 11

2021-02-2101:42:54

Violence Against God Session 11: Still in the Seventh Circle, in the first ring of the third ring of the Violent, where the violent objector is the landscape itself, fiery sands and flaming rain that banish all growth, we see Capaneus stuck in his railing rebellion against Jove. In the Old Man of Crete we see from the Golden Age to the crumbling of the Kingdom’s of Mankind a cracked statue weeping tears into four mythic rivers. Three of the rivers come into Hell. One confounds Dante's sense of direction, but protects his feet and quenches the fires above. And we shall forget about the fourth for the moment. For more information about the Mythgard Academy series on Dante's Inferno, visit https://mythgard.org/academy/inferno/
MSA028: Inferno, Class 10

MSA028: Inferno, Class 10

2021-01-2301:59:37

Concerning Violence Session 10: Where we arrive on time to find the tormentors of the violent are themselves the violent. The symbolic Nessus, whose own blood became the instrument of the death of his enemies, is the gracious guide and ride for Dante across the field of blood and flame and into the black wood of the suicides. Where we pause and check our own souls, lest we be careless, for the Medieval mind held that to take one’s own life was to be both murderer and victim. And Dante, in pity, becomes the voice of one tree, for when you are in the seventh circle if someone up above remembers your name it’ll be ok, cheers! For more information about the Mythgard Academy series on Dante's Inferno, visit https://mythgard.org/academy/inferno/
MSA028: Inferno, Class 9

MSA028: Inferno, Class 9

2021-01-1601:38:13

Week 9: Where we stop and notice that the Medieval mind is not modern. And just as the organization of Hell was Aristotlean so too is the nature of physics and philosophy. As Virgil and Dante discuss the purpose and place of everything in the world, Prof. Corey reminds us that in their model the sun is Happy to go around the earth, and the rock is Happy to fall to the ground with a thud, and the soul is Happy to go toward the God who made it. Thus choosing to chart a different path is the essence of sin. And in the Happiness of the motion of the spheres both the zodiac and astronomy, even as seen from the pit of Hell, could be used to tell the time of night. And we are reminded that the Harrowing of Hell has had the metaphysical effect of changing the entire landscape, making a highway out of a sheer fall.
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