National Collegiate Honors Council


Date of this Version



Published in Honors in Practice, volume 3. Copyright 2007 National Collegiate Honors Council.


Among the most fascinating and compelling stories passed down through the ages that continue to engage us today are works that involve monstrous creatures or the marvelous realms of the other world. Goblins and fairies, Grendel and Circe, dragons and gargoyles evoke visual or verbal creations from earlier periods that have inspired the imaginations of writers, artists, and thinkers since ancient times. This Fall 2005 course of 14 students examined how such monsters and marvels reflect a variety of historical ideas, social constructs, cultural patterns, and spiritual themes in ways that have become integral to contemporary popular culture.