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Mythology Paperback – Sep 14 1998

4.2 out of 5 stars 89 customer reviews

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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 89 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #49,473 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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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

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'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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Top Customer Reviews

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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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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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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By FrKurt Messick HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 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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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Ms. Hamilton's book, rightly considered a classic in its own right, is a quick, minimal no-nonsense retelling of Greek and Roman myths. I was surprised to see a small section at the end on Norse mythology; I thought it was entirely too brief to do the subject justice.
Ms. Hamilton's greatest contribution in this work is her grouping of the myths in more-or-less logical sections -- for example, "The Gods, the Creation and the Earliest Heroes," "Stories of Love and Adventure," "The Great Heroes of the Trojan War," and so on. She attempts to provide a framework for the myths to enable the reader to understand them in the context they were understood during their own time, and she does this very well.
Another benefit Ms. Hamilton attempts to provide her readers is a clipping service of sorts, pulling her stories from a multitude of sources. While I found the constant switching between Greek and Roman names annoying, Ms. Hamilton remained true to her methodology of identifying the gods, goddesses and heroes based on the majority author from which she drew for a particular tale. I could have done without her editorializing on the readability of the authors from whom she drew, but that is a minor quibble.
This book is most useful for someone for whom many years has passed since he or she has read their Greek and Roman mythology. It might also serve as an adequate primer for someone about to undertake a first reading of the subject as well. By itself, however, it loses much of the romance and excitement the fully developed stories themselves impart in the hands of a skilled storyteller.
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