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Mythology Books : Book Discussion • Page 2 • Writing Forum | WritersDigest.com

Mythology Books

Read a good book lately? Want to discuss it with others? Share what you're reading and find out what should be on your bookshelf.
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Brien Sz
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Re: Mythology Books

Postby Brien Sz » Thu Apr 21, 2016 1:53 pm

The Noah book does not cover it in the sense that I think you are looking for - it's a scholarly piece and so even though he makes delineations, I also know that he doesn't break it down into its simplest terms either.

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Re: Mythology Books

Postby AJW009 » Fri Apr 22, 2016 3:00 am

Hi guys, you're welcome to call me AJW! That's my initials, instead of using the name of one of my main characters!!

Trust your instincts, it's rarely wrong! Flip a coin, heads or tails. If you're sad at the result, listen and ignore the coin toss!!

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TwoStepCharlie
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Re: Mythology Books

Postby TwoStepCharlie » Thu Oct 06, 2016 2:17 pm

Is the OP of this thread still seeking titles? I'd be interested in supplying some leads.

OP, is it possible for you to list what books you've already swallowed up, so that we don't cite ones you already know?
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Re: Mythology Books

Postby AJW009 » Fri Oct 07, 2016 11:07 am

Hi guys, you're welcome to call me AJW! That's my initials, instead of using the name of one of my main characters!!

Trust your instincts, it's rarely wrong! Flip a coin, heads or tails. If you're sad at the result, listen and ignore the coin toss!!

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TwoStepCharlie
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Re: Mythology Books

Postby TwoStepCharlie » Fri Oct 07, 2016 12:35 pm

Blow up the bridge?!

AJW009
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Re: Mythology Books

Postby AJW009 » Fri Oct 07, 2016 1:42 pm

Hi guys, you're welcome to call me AJW! That's my initials, instead of using the name of one of my main characters!!

Trust your instincts, it's rarely wrong! Flip a coin, heads or tails. If you're sad at the result, listen and ignore the coin toss!!

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TwoStepCharlie
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Re: Mythology Books

Postby TwoStepCharlie » Fri Oct 07, 2016 9:44 pm

Okay. I appreciate you clarifying. And I applaud your enthusiasm for the subject matter.

For a start I see some 'basic' classics missing from your survey so far.
It's not really that surprising I suppose, these days. Anyway let me round up these stray dogies first. I actually have a fairly extensive background in this topic and I can probably take you as deep into it as you might wish to delve.

First. For the sake of comprehensiveness you should surely include the great Bulfinch in your investigation. "Bulfinch's Mythology" is a standard of the field, and includes evocative versions of Greek, Roman, Norse, & Welsh myths. He is perhaps not an authoritative scholar but his interpretations have been beloved by generations of readers for their color and eloquence. It's an easy read and if you truly love myths, you will enjoy it whether or not you find it useful for your research.

Next. My personal favorite compendium of Greek myth is that written by Edith Hamilton. Hamilton's Mythology is quite different than Bulfinch's; for my personal taste it is better for it is denser and richer. Her interpretations truly do read like novels.

Let me put my next few picks in another post. I don't want to have to re-type mine as you had to do yours...
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TwoStepCharlie
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Re: Mythology Books

Postby TwoStepCharlie » Fri Oct 07, 2016 10:03 pm

Next: Japanese Myths, I am not very strong on. I'd have to really think about that area.

Egypt: the 'Egyptian Book of the Dead', surely. An occult classic. If there's not enough Gods in it for you, let me know. In a pinch you could always turn to Norman Mailer's 'Ancient Evenings' (novel).

Your interest in Mesopotamia does you much credit. My suggestion for the fertile crescent though is this: if you go back farther than Gilgamesh you are going to wind up in the realm of various unnamed Venus Gods and Corn Gods. But Chaldea for example, was obsessed with geomancy and astrology and was saddled with ruling priestly castes; as often as not their 'god' was whoever was king at the time. Or, Assyria: their sculpture shows mortal men & gods all mixed together. Tell you what: if you specify what you think you need from that part of the world I can probably tell you if it's there.

Next: I could harp on Joseph Campbell but I don't think I need to. You must have heard of him. His name is everywhere in modern folklore thanks to his new-agey interests. Curious as to why he is omitted from your list? Anyway, no matter. He also, is not a true scholar; and he infuses his erstwhile research with much of his own, very overt mysticism. If I were you I would at least browse through his works, even if you just browse the index.

In a similar vein is a book called, 'The White Goddess' by Robert Graves. Graves is the author of "I, Claudius" and although Graves is a fiction author he has always had an avid interest in the Greco-Roman era. 'White Goddess' is his interpretation of the descent of myths down through time. It is not authoritative but it is Robert Graves and so, worth a look.

Next: for Norse myths, have you taken a gander at the actual Edda? Not my strong suit but it should at least be mentioned.

Next: another gifted writer is the fabulous Sir James George Frazier; famous for his staggering encyclopedia of world myths known as 'The Golden Bough'. Frazier was the Joseph Campbell of his era; and his conclusions are not regarded as valid anymore but his energy and the range of his efforts are still staggering in their scope. If you pick up this book and flip through it you will quickly get dizzy and short of breath. It should give you all you need. The practices and habits of the most remote Pacific Island tribe are covered in Frazier.

One more post and then I'll pause.
Last edited by TwoStepCharlie on Sat Oct 08, 2016 6:55 am, edited 3 times in total.
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TwoStepCharlie
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Re: Mythology Books

Postby TwoStepCharlie » Fri Oct 07, 2016 10:17 pm

Time now to recommend a work of more serious academic standing. For a glimpse into the true civic and personal life of Ancient Greece you might try a book called 'The Greeks and the Irrational' by ER Dodds. This work caused a sensation in the scholarly community of its day. It asserted --very ably, too--that Ancient Greece had its troubles as well as its glories; and that modern culture tends to over-idealize these forefathers of ours.

Myths themselves are featured hardly at all in this study; instead you will see the other side of Greece; the accurate side. The realistic, historic side. The Greece of philosophers, tryants, psuedo-democracy, ethics, courts, rhetoric, and thinkers. To men like Plato and Socrates, Greek myths were merely childish prattle. But the book discusses things like how Greek citizens felt about things like insanity, sickness, ghosts, dreams, omens, demons, cults, magic, luck, and the like. Maybe you'll find it of some utility.
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Re: Mythology Books

Postby cynicalwanderer » Sat Oct 08, 2016 6:05 am

Loosely related to this topic, I was researching folklore mythology some time back and made a number of online bookmarks. This was probably the best of the links I found, and might be worth a look:



In many cases, you can click through to see the various folk tales, legends, parables, and so on and all of their regional variants. Most of them are European folklore, so might not be relevant to the OP's requirements to research classical mythology, but still a useful collection.
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