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Eric's House Of Ego
November 17th, 2008
01:25 pm

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I need some recommendations
I need to refresh some knowledge here and there .. so I thought I would toss this out to you folks

What is your favorite book on mythology, for whatever mythology you prefer?

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From:guppiecat
Date:November 17th, 2008 07:29 pm (UTC)
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So many too choose from.

You should stop by my house and pick one to borrow. Is there something specific you're after?
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From:ericcoleman
Date:November 17th, 2008 07:37 pm (UTC)
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I know some things that I will buy, but wanted to see what others came up with.

It used to be something that I knew a lot about, especially the Greeks and some of the middle eastern, but have let fade over the years.
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From:guppiecat
Date:November 17th, 2008 07:43 pm (UTC)
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The question is more are you looking for an encyclopedia reference, a collection of stories (if so, which cultures), an academic theory reference, and academic theory course? etc etc etc.

There are different good ones in different areas, a LOT of moderate in there, and a handful of crap... where crap is defined differently depending on where you sit on the academic theory level.
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From:ericcoleman
Date:November 17th, 2008 07:46 pm (UTC)
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More the first two, some good references, and good collections of stories. As for what culture, I don't really care. I'm looking to let my mind wander.
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From:guppiecat
Date:November 17th, 2008 07:58 pm (UTC)
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OK, I tend more towards the academic side. That said, for reference, these websites are better than most book-form encyclopedias:

* http://www.pantheon.org/
* http://www.theoi.com/
* http://www.purgingtalon.com/nlm/worldmyth/

For the letting the mind wander, any of Andrew Lang's colour fairy collections are a good general source. I have more culture-specific collections on my shelves if you want to peruse. For Greek collections, Robert Graves is a very good start. Culturally, I can recommend some specific Australian Aboriginal and Native American collections, but I'd need to be at my collection to get the names right.

I do recommend familiarizing yourself with the cultures of the odder mythologies (Babylonian is a good example), as it lends a lot of context to the stories. Places to start for things like that are Wikipedia, Armstrong's "A Short History of Myth", and Bill Moyer's interview with Joseph Cambpell "The Power of Myth". While I'm not a fan of Campbell's writing (which is generally incomplete), I love his lectures.
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From:ericcoleman
Date:November 17th, 2008 08:02 pm (UTC)
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Graves is certainly already on the list. I knew quite a bit about the Babylonian mythologies a long time ago, but little about the culture. It could be why I never quite got it.

As well, I'm looking more for something to get myself away from the computer. But those sites will definitely get a look.
From:rowangolightly
Date:November 17th, 2008 07:42 pm (UTC)
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Good basic storytelling of almost everything:
http://www.amazon.com/Mythology-Edith-Hamilton/dp/0316341517

Personally for me, anything Joseph Campbell wrote.

From there...gods, choose a culture!
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From:barondave
Date:November 17th, 2008 08:51 pm (UTC)
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I hate to admit it, but for the last ten years or so, whenever I've needed to find out about a deity or pantheon, I've just looked it up on the web. I have a bunch of books, mostly older by now including the Edith Hamilton and even a Borges book on fictional mythologies, but haven't cracked them in a while.
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From:mle292
Date:November 17th, 2008 08:59 pm (UTC)

Sorry, I had to

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The Bible, but it is sort of violent.
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From:guppiecat
Date:November 17th, 2008 09:00 pm (UTC)

Re: Sorry, I had to

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Not for immature readers? :)
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From:ericcoleman
Date:November 17th, 2008 09:06 pm (UTC)

Re: Sorry, I had to

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I saw the subject line in my email, and that it was from you ...

HOW did I know what book you were going to recommend ???
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From:ericcoleman
Date:November 17th, 2008 09:06 pm (UTC)

Re: Sorry, I had to

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For that matter, how did I know when I started this that would be the book that you would recommend?
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From:mle292
Date:November 17th, 2008 09:17 pm (UTC)

Re: Sorry, I had to

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I'm nothing if not predictable. God knew I was going to do that, too.

Yours in Christ,
Emily
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From:johnny9fingers
Date:November 17th, 2008 09:09 pm (UTC)
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For reference books I can recommend:

The Oxford Dictionary of Classical Myth & Religion - edited by Simon Price and Emily Kearns<em (Oxford isbn 0-190280288-7) The New Larousse Encyclopedia of Mythology (Hamlyn isbn 0-600-02350-8) A Classical Dictionary of Hindu Mythology edited by John Dowson (Routledge and Kegan Paul isbn 0 7100 1302 7 H A Guerber's 'Myths of Greece and Rome' was a childhood companion alongside Graves. For retellings of Homer in English, I love Christopher Logue, though Professor Fagles is more accurate, the use of language isn't quite in the same league. Each mythology seems to have one or two core translations which provide the non-speaker without a cultural background some way in. Too many to list.
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From:darkfaery999
Date:November 17th, 2008 09:58 pm (UTC)
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It's a young adult book, just a small 12 (I think) book series. It's called Everworld. It covers bits of mythology from several different cultures, plus a fun creation of an alien mythological creature. It's a fiction series, but highly accurate information regarding the gods and such. Just thought I'd throw that out as a non-encyclopedic reference.
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From:janeg
Date:November 18th, 2008 01:11 am (UTC)
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For some interesting, updated retellings:

Margaret Atwood, Persephone
Alexander McCall Smith, Dream Angus

There may be more out by now in this series.
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From:tollers
Date:November 18th, 2008 01:20 am (UTC)
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I'd recommend Anne Ross's "Pagan Celtic Britain" (though some of the Celtic Reconstructionist crowd aren't particularly fond of it), "Celtic Mythology" by Proinsias MacCana, and I'd second (third? more?) the recommendation for Joseph Campbell. Oh, and for straight Irish folklore and tales, pick up a good translation of the Mabinogion, and another standard is the "Carmina Gadelica" for Gaelic hymns and prayers.
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From:tlunquist
Date:November 18th, 2008 03:57 pm (UTC)
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I agree that the Edith hamilton book is a good overview, although it may not be as in depth as you want. Jean Shinoda Bolen's "Goddesses in Everywoman" is kind of fun for looking at mythology in the context of feminism (or perhaps feminism in the context of mythology) but may be tangential to what you're looking for.

The Bible is certainly an excellent mythological text, but I find it's a really tedious read. Robert Graves is excellent, for sure. On a slightly different tack, it never hurts to revisit Aesop - not precisely mythology, but serving some of the same sociocultural purpose.
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From:guppiecat
Date:November 18th, 2008 03:59 pm (UTC)
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If you read Aesop, be sure to read the new translation, as it avoids all the old Victorian "cleanup".

I can get you more data if you care, but LJ is about to move, so it'll have to wait.
Eric Coleman, Curmudgeon Powered by LiveJournal.com