Mythology Paperback – Sep 14 1998
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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
'One of the great teachers and scholars of our time' -- WALL STREET JOURNALSee all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
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.
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.Read more ›
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.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
Paperback edition. Awesome illustrations. Many of the most famous myths retold in an easy to read modern collection. If your interested in mythology this is a must!Published 3 months ago by Edwardo
Book arrived very quickly. Excellent information in this Mythology book!Published 5 months ago by Amazon Customer
I ordered this book for my sister. She used to have this back in high school.Published 19 months ago by Bulaga26
Je m'attendais à une sorte d'histoire mais pas à un genre d'encyclopédie. alors c'est plus un livre didactique ou de référence.Published on Jan. 8 2013 by Alain Fournier
The book was pretty objectively written with a slight tint - here and there - of personal opinion and attitude towards certain beliefs. Read morePublished on July 28 2012 by inford34
Excellent book on Greek and Roman mythology. The storytelling is well done to capture the reader. I personally own two copies. Read morePublished on July 16 2012 by Michel
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