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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The meaning of myth, 24 Nov. 2010
This review is from: Classical Mythology: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions) (Paperback)
Two other entries in this Very Short Introduction series can be seen as companion volumes to the present one. They are Classics, by Mary Beard & John Henderson, and Myth by Robert A. Segal. I would recommend reading those two - in either order - and then this one, although they each stand very well alone.

Morales discusses various interpretations of the role of myth in Western culture, its functions and significance. Although she distances herself from works that restrict themselves to narrations and summaries of the myths themselves, she does include a list of Classical deities and their attributes, unapologetically admitting, "I am having my cake and eating it by including this". But the focus throughout is very much on the nature and function of myth rather than its content. The chapter on Freudian psychoanalysis is particularly interesting.

She writes very well, often with a light touch and with frequent popular culture references.

The book concludes with a useful 5-page Timeline - from 800 BC, "Early Greece" to 2007, the publication of this book - a comprehensive Reference section, and a very useful Further Reading section.

If you want an understanding of myth, how it evolves and how it continues to be relevant, you should read this book.
[PeterReeve]
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