Kane's perspective of mythtelling as a human dialogue with nature seems an idea so obvious that at least some in long line of scholars who dealt with myth before him must have hit upon it. Not quite so. Though this connection between what we would now call environmental awareness and the stories a culture tells itself has been bandied about in earlier works, The Wisdom of The Mythtellers is unique in making this gentle, unassuming and deeply ecological angle its central point. Simple things often can have a flash of genius about them.
Kane's idea, perhaps his most important one and definitely most appealing to me, is that "myths which evolve in sympathy with nature are different from myths which compete with it" (22). His argument for that claim has a clearly modern, even postmodern feel to it. Kane is sensitive not only to the ecological consciousness as expressed in myths but also to the uniqueness of specific mythic traditions. Without imposing any uniformity on the myths he examines, Kane gives us their unique flavor. He also deals with the danger myth may pose to modern humans--what in the Conclusion he calls "the lure of ancient meaning". At the same time he asserts that mythtelling has gone on and will go on as long as humans will interact with their environment. In this sense I find his ideas about "the wisdom of the mythtellers" particularly relevant to our modern civilization, increasingly oriented (at least theoretically) toward practices of living with the earth on the earth's terms. In the course of this process, Kane says, we are discovering the respect for nature demonstrated by archaic humanity. If so, we may, perhaps, learn something from them. A humble and profound work. Highly recommended!