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Bulfinch's Mythology

4.1 out of 5 stars 96 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0517274156
ISBN-10: 0517262770
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

This book is in Electronic Paperback Format. If you view this book on any of the computer systems below, it will look like a book. Simple to run, no program to install. Just put the CD in your CDROM drive and start reading. The simple easy to use interface is child tested at pre-school levels.

Windows 3.11, Windows/95, Windows/98, OS/2 and MacIntosh and Linux with Windows Emulation.

Includes Quiet Vision's Dynamic Index. the abilty to build a index for any set of characters or words. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From the Author

Please be aware that there are many editions of this book. The original text dates to 1855. The only volume with which I have been involved--and which, naturally, I consider the best--is the 1991 HarperCollins hardback for which I provided a long introduction and scholarly notes. Apparently many reviewers on this site have been sold inferior editions by earlier editors, still circulating.

Product Details

  • Series: Bullfinch's Mythology Library Edition (Book 1)
  • Hardcover: 1040 pages
  • Publisher: Gramercy (December 12, 1988)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0517262770
  • ISBN-13: 978-0517274156
  • ASIN: 0517274159
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 2.5 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.5 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (96 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #417,480 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
It is an anthology of mythology I often use simply to look up the major myths, because it's easy to find things in Bulfinch. If I knew of a modern alternative which filled the same role as well, I might rank Bulfinch a 3. It's a fairly good reference for Greek, Roman and Arthurian legends. He pretty much paraphrases e.g. Virgil's Aeneid and Ovid's Metamorphisis. He also provides the basic Egyptian and Viking myths. But anything East of the Levant is given very short shrift, probably because at the time this was written, those myths were not so available in the West.

There's no question he loved these stories, but I can't say I'm left with the feeling that he has been truly struck by the Myth, that the Myth has truly destabilized him the way it has Frazer, Jung or Joseph Campbell.

And no doubt this collection would not have been published at all at that time were he not willing to leave out significant facts that the book might be readable by well-bred ladies. Any castrations are left out or (worse) revised. Cronos was deposed. Theseus slays the Minotaur, but the part about how the Minotaur came to be in the first place is omitted. Attis comes across as a romantic story. You find neither the factual story behind it as laid out by Herodotus nor any intimation about the nature of the fantastical cult which arose around it as described in Frazer.

At the same time, although most major bookstores now have whole sections devoted to mythology, and hundreds of anthologies have come out, I've never quite found anything that takes the place of Bulfinch, and so I keep it on my shelf.
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By A Customer on April 4, 2002
Format: Paperback
So many people are like me...they read and studied mythology in school, then rapidly forgot much of what they learned. Some knowledge of mythology, however, is necessary if one wants to undertand and appreciate great literature. So many great authors draw upon mythology in their work. One (and only one) example is Milton; so many people who say they don't understand "Paradise Lost" are simply missing allusions to the mythology contained instead.
I'm not a classicist, a theologian or a philosopher. I'm not an expert in ancient Greek or Latin. What I am is a lover of great literature and it pains me when I come upon a mythological reference I don't recognize or remember.
I tried using a classical dictionary, but found this created one problem while failing to solve another. The problem is that it is annoying to interrupt the flow of one's reading to look up an allusion in a dictionary. I'd almost rather skip the reading than do that. And, even after looking up an allusion, at least in a dictionary, we usually still don't understand the poetry and the full meaning of the myth.
"Bulfinch's Mythology" solves this problem. With this book, anyone can learn about the gods and goddesses of Greek and Roman antiquity, of Scandinavian, Celtic and Oriental fable and of the Age of Chivalry, in a readable and entertaining manner.
With "Bulfinch's Mythology," we certainly won't learn as much as a scholar, but we will learn enough to enjoy and appreciate the references to mythology we encounter in literature, painting, sculpture and music.
The stories in "Bulfinch's Mythology" are divided into three sections: The Age of Fable, The Age of Chivalry and The Legends of Charlemagne.
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By A Customer on December 30, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Bulfinch does a great job of retelling the classic Greek/Roman myths of antiquity as well as the myths of Old Europe including, among others, Arthur, Charlemange, Orlando, and Thor. One part that stands out is the Mabinogeon which (and this is noted on page 561 of the Modern Library edition) has a Thousand and One Nights fell to it. One part that appeared to not fit into the book at all was Chapter 37 of The Age of Fable, which hastily describes a portion of Eastern Mythology. Although this section has no true faults with the information, one gets the sense that Bulfinch quickly threw the myths together and since he didn't have room for them anywhere else he put them in this chapter. Although it does not take away from the quality of the book it might have been better had Bulfinch chosen either to elaborate slightly on the myths or to not include them altogether. However, for an introduction to classical mythology for the reader who is having trouble understanding Byron or Milton or Shakespeare or a hundred other classical European and American writers this book is a godsend. Bulfinch tailored this book to just this kind of reader. At times it may seem a bit dry, but Bulfinch intended his work to be used as a reference mainly (which is why he included a great index in the back of The Age of Fable).
For those readers who are interested in mythology as an end unto itself, I recommend this work as your main road map through this sometimes confusing trail. Robert Graves and Edith Hamilton's works are good also but in my opinion Bulfinch outdoes both of them. From here you will definitely want to look at the Madrus and Mathers 4 vol.
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