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Mythical Trickster Figures: Contours, Contexts and Criticisms Paperback – 31 Jan 1997

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From the Back Cover

Mythical Trickster Figures is the first substantial collection of essays about the trickster figure since Paul Radin's influential 1955 publication of The Trickster. Contributions by leading scholars treat a wide range of manifestations of this mischievous character, ranging from the Coyote of the American Southwest to such African figures as Eshu-Elegba and Ananse, the Japanese Susa-no-o, the Greek Hermes, Christian adaptations of Saint Peter, and examples found in contemporary American fiction and drama. Original essays by authors known for their work on trickster figures provide resources for comprehending the nature of the phenomenon and challenge some previous interpretations. The contributors include T.O. Beidelman, Anne Doueihi, Robert S. Ellwood, Laura Makarius, Robert D. Pelton, Mac Linscott Ricketts, Thomas J. Steele, S.J., Christopher Vecsey, as well as the editors. Several contributors deconstruct earlier comparativist works in favor of culture-specific analysis and provide for a grasp of the transcultural qualities of the trickster myths and figures that appear in the local mythologies of different societies. The many humorous trickster stories included are fascinating in themselves, and Hynes and Doty highlight the wide range of features of the trickster - the figure whose comic appearance often signifies that the most serious cultural values are being both challenged and enforced. Mythical Trickster Figures moves away from earlier studies that considered the figure merely "primitive" or located in the basement of the human psyche suggesting instead that the spirit of metaplay is crucial to human and social maturation.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.5 out of 5 stars 2 reviews
23 of 23 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Crosscultural Trickster 6 Mar. 2001
By Polysyllabite - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Hynes, Doty, and the other authors in this collection do a pretty good job of negotiating a path through postmodern jargon in order to get to something to say. I especially like the distinction made (and blurred) between the trickster and the shaman--that while both trickster and shaman function as (un)reality instructors within a given group, each can address quite different fields of understanding. In an attempt not to present a unified monomyth but to address issues of divergence as well as commonality, the book's chapters cover a wide geographical and historical range: Native America to Africa, classical to contemporary lore. Well worth reading, this collection implies (as I believe its editors intend) a wealth of possibilities for future study.
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent read! Informative for readers familiar with the topic ... 21 Jun. 2015
By Mel - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
An excellent read! Informative for readers familiar with the topic but also with many handy notes and suggestions on chapter reading order for those who are newer to trickster mythology. Great bibliography as well for readers who want to pursue other seminal works in this subject, such as those of Radin, Makarius, etc. I liked as well how the book stresses finding a balance between a communal, all-encompassing definition of the trickster throughout history and various cultures with more specific, discrete studies of individual tricksters and their roles in specific cultures. This book was my first dip into the academic study of the trickster, and as a layman reader it gave me a great deal of food for thought. Intriguing and fascinating...I'd definitely recommend it to anyone who wants to learn, or learn more, of tricksters and their mythology, purposes and personalities.
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