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World Mythology: A Very Short Introduction [#716]
World Mythology: A Very Short Introduction [#716]
  • Comprehensively collects myths in a way not done previously in other collections
  • Offers lively retellings of stories that entertain as well as teach
  • Provides analysis of myths geared to both academic and general audiences

The mythologies of the world are collective cultural dreams, and as such should be analyzed first from cultural perspectives. How do myths of the ancient Egyptians or Greeks, for instance, reflect the realities of the Egyptian and Greek cultures? When compared, however, mythologies reveal certain universal themes or motifs that point to larger trans-cultural issues such as the place of the human species in creation or the nature of deity as a concept.
World Mythology: A Very Short Introduction is organized around the universal motifs. Creation, the Flood, the Hero Quest, the Trickster/Culture Hero, the Pantheons, the High God, the Great Goddess. Veteran mythology scholar David Leeming examines examples of each motif from a variety of cultures—Greek, Egyptian, Norse, American Indian, African, Polynesian, Jewish, Christian, Hindu—treating them as reflections of the cultures that "dreamed" them. He compares and analyzes them, exposing their universal significance and creating a "world mythology."


List of Illustrations

1 Deity
2 Creation
3 The flood
4 The trickster
5 The hero
Further Reading

About the author: 

David Leeming, Professor Emeritus of English and Comparative Literature, University of Connecticut
David Leeming received his BA from Princeton University and his PhD from NYU. He taught for eight years at Robert College in Istanbul and for many years as a Professor of English and Comparative Literature at the University of Connecticut. Leeming is the author of many books on the mythologies of various cultures, including the Oxford Companion to World Mythology and The World of Myth.

"David Leeming distils world mythology into some of its most essential forms — deity, creation, flood, trickster, and hero — and he offers illuminating examples of each one. His clear, concise summaries and interpretations will surely serve as springboards for further research. This volume makes an inspiring introduction for newcomers to the field, and a handy reference guide for anyone already working with myth." - Joanna Gardner, Co-founder, Fates and Graces Mythologium

Product details

ISBN : 9780197548264

David Leeming
160 Pages
111 x 174 mm
Pub date
Jan 2023
Very Short Introductions
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World Mythology: A Very Short Introduction [#716]

World Mythology: A Very Short Introduction [#716]

World Mythology: A Very Short Introduction [#716]