Monday, July 16, 2007



Rating : 5/5
Reason for reading : Coven reading list, always wanted to read

This is a non-fictional book looking at mythology. It is split into two main parts. Part one discusses the "monomyth" which is the myth structure that permeates all mythology. It goes from Departure to Initation and Return of the Hero and follows his journey from the initial call, his refusal, supernatural aid, trials, refusal of the return, rescue fron without, master of two worlds and freedom to live as well as many other ideas. The Hero's Journey is a famous idea within mythology and funnily enough George Lucas used Joseph Campbell and his ideas on the Hero's Journey when he was writing and producing the original Star Wars trilogy.

Part two covers the Cosmogenis Cycle and discusses Emenations, The Virgin Birth (in different traditions and cultures), Transformations of the Hero (including the Hero as Warrior, Lover, Emperor, Tryant, World Redeemer and Saint), Disolutions (the end of the world) and ends with an epilogue on Myth and Society. It draws on an extensive list of source material and covers myths from Christianity, Islam, Hinduism (The Bhagavad Gita and Upanishads), Shinto, Welsh (Maginogian), New Zealand (Maori tradition), Greek (Homer and Ovid), Sumerian, Babylonian, Mesopotamian myths (Gilgamesh and Innana) as well as Dante's Inferno and Joyce's Ulysses.

I highly recommend this book. I was expecting something very dry and academic, and it wasn't at all. It contained lots of fascinating discussion as well as lots of extracts from different mythological tales as well as psychology. It has given me so many ideas for further reading, I think I will have to read it again to make note of all the references! I have had this book recommended to me by my husband and so many friends over the years and I can't believe it has taken me so long to finally read it. There is so much to take in and the stories are so interesting, it is definately one to be read over and over again. If you love mythology, fantasy, fairy tales and folk-lore, this book is an absolute must-have for your collection.

2 comments:

Nymeth said...

I really need to get around to reading this one. I actually gave it a try a few years ago, but I was in the mood for something different at the time.

Your review reminded me of Marina Warner's "From the Beast to the Blonde", which does something similar, but concerning fairy tales instead of myths.

Rhinoa said...

Nymeth I was hoping you would see this review, I think it is definately a book you will enjoy. I have that book by Marina Warner but I haven't read it yet. I am going to start a list of mythology and fairy tale books to read next year in a couple of months and will try and remember to add it.