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Mythology Paperback – Sep 14 1998


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 512 pages
  • Publisher: Back Bay Books; New edition edition (Sept. 14 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9780316341516
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316341516
  • ASIN: 0316341517
  • Product Dimensions: 14 x 3.8 x 21 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 386 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (89 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #242,246 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

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Edith Hamilton loved the ancient Western myths with a passion--and this classic compendium is her tribute. "The tales of Greek mythology do not throw any clear light upon what early mankind was like," Hamilton explains in her introduction. "They do throw an abundance of light upon what early Greeks were like--a matter, it would seem, of more importance to us, who are their descendents intellectually, artistically, and politically. Nothing we learn about them is alien to ourselves." Fans of Greek mythology will find all the great stories and characters here--Perseus, Hercules, and Odysseus--each discussed in generous detail by the voice of an impressively knowledgeable and engaging (with occasional lapses) narrator. This is also an excellent primer for middle- and high-school students who are studying ancient Greek and Roman culture and literature. --Gail Hudson

Review

'One of the great teachers and scholars of our time' -- WALL STREET JOURNAL

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THE GREEKS did not believe that the gods created the universe. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars

Most helpful customer reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A. Steinhebel on Aug. 21 2002
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Marvelous! This is, quite simply, the best book on ancient mythology available today. It has everything you could ask for; It's readable, erudite scholars tome this is not; it's comprehensive, covering every major myth you'll find allusions too in modern literature; it's not analytical, it presents the stories as they should be, beautiful in their simplicity, not awash in modern symbolism; and, most important of all, the book sparks an passion for mythology. After reading this book, instead of feeling like you know all there is to know about the ancients religion, you'll want to actually read Hamilton's original sources. It actually makes you want to read Hesiod, Homer, Herodotus, Euridpides, Sophocles, Virgil, and all the others in the great classical cannon. Truly, I can't recommend this book enough.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Dean on Feb. 23 2004
Format: Paperback
Hamilton tells the stories, that may span several sources, in essentialized form in single stories for each character or topic. This overview technique creates stories that are often times more interesting than the drier read of some original texts. She provides references to all materials used enabling the reader to investigate further when they find a story of particular interest. This is a great introductory text to Greek Mythology or a great text for more advanced readers working to essentialize their knowledge.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By J. A Magill on Jan. 22 2004
Format: Paperback
The major fault of Edith Hamilton's classic Mythology also serves as its greatest strength. Hamilton edited this collection in a very conservative social mileu, and chose to edit out and play down much of the sex and violence one typically finds in the greek myths. However, that choice makes it an excellent selection to give teens and pre-teens their first introduction to the world of Zues, Perseus, Hercules, and the rest.
Several other intructory books on myths are available, but this remains the classic. Other less sanitized collections, however, are probably better for older readers.
The myths are well presented and organized. A short section on Norse myth, though prefunctory and not Hamilton's speciality, provides in theresting contrast and good fun for young readers. The essays included are good, though not the books greatest strength. They are nontheless worthwhile as they sketch out the complex interrelationships between the greek gods and heroes offering the reader substantial intellectual stimulation.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By "astrea_evania" on June 19 2003
Format: Paperback
I've done quite a bit of reading about greek (and roman) mythology and I still enjoyed this book. They way the myths are writen is so good that I could almost feel myself back in ancient Greece, observing the scenes. I also enjoyed the quotes from the original source where the myth was told (e.g. The Odyssey, The Illiad, etc). Overall this is a good basic classical mythology book. Even people who already know these myths should read this book if only for the delightful manner in which they are told. For someone who cannot match a roman god to his greek conterpart this might require flipping back to the first chapter. If you pay attention the first time you read it you shouldn't have any trouble with this.
Near the end of the book there are a couple norse myths. That's it. If your looking for a book that has myths from more than just Greece/Rome you'll be disappointed. However if you looked at the table of contents and noticed the lack of other cultural myths (and still wanted to read the book) you should be extremely satisfied. I know i was...
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By FrKurt Messick HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on May 20 2003
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Edith Hamilton's Mythology: Timeless Tales of Gods and Heroes is a very basic, very popular and very good text for the introduction of Greek and Roman mythology. In our Western culture, the term 'mythology' is most often equated with these tales, and this book, first written before World War II, has helped to reinforce that equation with the current generations of readers.
Those looking for the mythological stories of other cultures will be disappointed -- with the exception of a brief section on Norse mythology at the end (about five percent of the entire volume), it covers nothing outside the Greek and Roman pantheons. Of course, part of the difficulty of approaching mythology of other cultures is that, in many instances, it is not mythology to them; or, in the case of mythology, one needs a firmer grounding in the culture and religious aspects of that culture before the mythology becomes accessible.
Hamilton (raised, as I was astonished to discover, in Indiana, where I currently reside) studied at Bryn Mawr, and had a distinguished teacher career in addition to writing this useful text. Hamilton's writing is not complicated and very easy to follow -- this has made this text one used in high school and undergraduate courses in Greek and Roman mythology more frequently perhaps than any other text produced in this century.
Hamilton begins the text with an essay giving an overview of what mythology is, and what the purpose of it was.
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