4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
A Useful Reference Guide,
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This review is from: The Oxford Companion to World Mythology (Oxford Companion To... (Paperback)) (Paperback)
This is a very useful and informative reference guide introducing themes, characters and places in the mythologies of world culture. Of course, any book of this size can't claim to be comprehensive, but Leeming makes a good try of not sticking to the Western lore that it could have been so easy to focus on - the Greco-Roman, Egyptian, Norse and Celtic are all in attendance, but so are stories and characters from the Americas, Africa and both the near and far East. The division between ancient and comparatively recent myth and legend are in attendance - there's a healthy regard to various modern faiths, from the Abrahamic religions to Buddhism, Taoism and Vodoun. There are also entries on major academic discourses about mythology (such as the works of Carl Jung and Joseph Campbell), providing a decent list of further reading for those interested in theories about what myth is, where it comes from and how it all links together.
Essentially an encyclopaedia, the OCWM contains short entries and is furnished with a great selection of photographs of mythic objects, as well as other artistic depictions of the legendary. The entries themselves generally do a good job of providing a great deal of information concisely, although sometimes a little more detail would be useful.
All in all, this was a really great reference for my purposes - delving into various world myths as an amateur. It only gets four stars because it could be a little more comprehensive, but it is definitely worth picking up if, like me, you're a mythology buff.