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Introduction? More of a ramble round the fringes
on 27 July 2009
There are some excellent little books in this series. This isn't one of them.
The author's stated aim is "to understand classical myths not as fossilised entities, but as living agents." Her attempt to do this takes her into some strange by-ways: the story of Europa as a symbol of the European Union; the National Curriculum; sculptures on the Rockefeller Centre, New York; photographs of society ladies of the 1930s portrayed as mythical characters; the role of myth in psycho-analysis; ditto in New Age spirituality; a feminist perspective on myths of abduction and rape. She even gets in a reference to Xena, Warrior Princess.
Some of this may be interesting as a discursive commentary for people already well-versed in classical mythology. But readers wanting a clear, simple, well-organised introduction to the origins and development of classical myths and their contribution to Western art and literature would be best advised to look elsewhere.