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Myth: A Very Short Introduction (2nd edition) [#111]
Myth: A Very Short Introduction (2nd edition) [#111]
  • Looks at the origins of the study of myths, and how they have been applied to the arts and sciences
  • Reveals how a variety of theories can be applied to ancient myths, but also to modern mythology
  • Explores the function of myths, and their subject matter
  • Considers the work of prominent thinkers such as Albert Camus, Claude Lévi-Strauss, Roland Barthes, C. G. Jung, and Sigmund Freud

New to this Edition:

  • Considers myth as modern science, including 20th and 21st century attempts to find evidence of astronomical observations, of volcanoes, and of other natural disasters
  • Looks at myth as a story, by considering the latest approaches to narrative theory
  • Examines myth and its interaction with society, including nationalism and fascism
  • Explores the approaches of cognitive science to myth

Where do myths come from? What is their function and what do they mean? 
In this Very Short Introduction Robert Segal introduces the array of approaches used to understand the study of myth. These approaches hail from disciplines as varied as anthropology, sociology, psychology, literary criticism, philosophy, science, and religious studies. Including ideas from theorists as varied as Sigmund Freud, Claude Lévi-Strauss, Albert Camus, and Roland Barthes, Segal uses the famous ancient myth of Adonis to analyse their individual approaches and theories. 
In this new edition, he not only considers the future study of myth, but also considers the interactions of myth theory with cognitive science, the implications of the myth of Gaia, and the differences between story-telling and myth.


Introduction: Theories of myth
1: Myth and science
2: Myth and philosophy
3: Myth and religion
4: Myth and ritual
5: Myth and literature
6: Myth and psychology
7: Myth and structure
8: Myth and politics
Conclusion: bringing myth back to the world

About the author: 

Robert Segal, Sixth Century Chair in Religious Studies, University of Aberdeen
Robert A. Segal was born, raised, and educated in the United States. He received his PhD in religion from Princeton University. He taught in the US for many years at Reed College, Stanford University, the University of Pittsburgh, and Tulane University before relocating to the UK in fall 1994. He taught at Lancaster University, before moving in 2006 to the University of Aberdeen, where he is Sixth Century Chair in Religious Studies. He teaches and writes on theories of myth and on theories of religion. Among the books he has written or edited are Joseph Campbell (1987, 1990) The Gnostic Jung (1992), Jung on Mythology (1998), The Myth and Ritual Theory (1998), Theorizing about Myth (1999), The Blackwell Companion to the Study of Religion (2006), and 30-Second Mythology (2012). He is currently editing the Oxford Handbook of Myth Theory.

"The volume fulfills its function admirably, it is a pleasure to read, and Segal's grasp of myth theories, as well as his ability to present them lucidly, is impressive. It is refreshing to read an author who takes all the myth theorists that he discusses quite seriously and explains them clearly, but who engages his materials from a keen theoretical point of view, always with a view to logical inconsistencies and gaps in the argumentation." - Laura Feldt, Religion & Theology

"This small yet extremely rich volume, now in its second edition and having been translated into a variety of European and non-European languages, can today be regarded as a classic... [a] remarkable overview of modern theories of myth." - Angus Nicholls, Religion

"This admirably clear and sensibly priced volume, although 'very short', is also very comprehensive" - Juliette Wood, Folklore

"Science Fiction readers, and more so writers, may well find this short introduction to myth of interest. SF has drawn on mythological tropes from supermen (including Superman) and technology with, and imparting, god-like powers, through to flights to the heavens." - Concatenation, Jonathan Cowie

"this is an essential addition to your library. It is an inexpensive book that maps out the territory of the theories of myth - covering a lot of academuc ground while being very readable and accessible." - International Journal of Jungian Studies

Product details

ISBN : 9780198724704

Robert A. Segal
160 Pages
111 x 174 mm
Pub date
Jul 2015
Very Short Introductions
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Myth: A Very Short Introduction (2nd edition) [#111]

Myth: A Very Short Introduction (2nd edition) [#111]

Myth: A Very Short Introduction (2nd edition) [#111]