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Myth and Knowing: An Introduction to World Mythology 1st Edition

3.4 out of 5 stars 33 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0767419574
ISBN-10: 076741957X
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Scott A Leonard (Youngstown, OH) is a professor at Youngstown State University in Ohio.

Michael McClure (Lexington, VA) is a professor at Washington and Lee University in Virginia.


Product Details

  • Paperback: 480 pages
  • Publisher: McGraw-Hill Education; 1 edition (February 18, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 076741957X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0767419574
  • Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 0.9 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #113,835 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I am currently wading through this mess of uncited junk for a literature class and am compelled to offer my two cents here out of sheer frustration.
The MLA standards are shoddy at best. Look forward to lazy, sloppy incomplete citations. For example, in the first section featuring
Creation Myths on page 46
Amma and Nummo Prepare the World
the ONLY annotation or citation is a footnote at the bottome of page 46 that says the story we are about to read is an 'adapted version' from the actual scholarly work of Marcel Griaule.

I would rather have the unadapted, original version from Marcel's pen to my page please! Additionally, this lame half-hazzard jumble of garbage doesn't match up with other sources and accounts, including a random passage I found from Griaule. The reader is left wondering,
which is actually relevant and which pieces are new inventions and adaptations subject to the 'modern' author's whims? Will my points be laughable because I am misinformed as to the real points of the story?

Why? Why? Why? There are plenty of models to follow. Bullfinch, for example, or the KJV Bible are readable models, applicable to this genre and compilation for a Higher Education textbook. Additionally, I have an older translated copy of Dante's Inferno in which the gracious writer provides his translated, 'adapted' English version alongside the original Italian verse. Here the author provides a complete piece of literary work for the reader's edification and to the credit of the original author! Myth and Knowing, with its 'Higher Learning' label, and 'textbook' cost, should deliver should offer these features and then some.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I realize that this is a textbook but how do you take the magic and wonder of myths and turn them into drudgery? Scott Leonard has managed to do this somehow. I love myths and have a house full of gorgeous books of mythology from a wide variety of cultures including Egyptian, Greek, Roman, Celtic, Viking, Native American, Mayan, etc. Myths have always been something I love to read over and over but I could not get away from this book quickly enough. There is mostly academic discussion of myths and the concepts are not well explained at all. The myths included are not the exciting stories they were made to be but are mainly a combination of description about the myths and a few lines of the myths. If I were teaching a course in mythology, I'd scrap this altogether and just use books of myths along with lectures.
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Format: Paperback
This textbook is a rampaging disaster. To begin with, neither of the authors have a background in mythology or anthropology, and think their shared interest in microbrews and college sports belong in their self-introduction. The book is poorly written from both a academic and a communication standpoint. Their points are unclear and poorly argued, and backed up with few citations.

The book is made up of six sections: an introduction, creation stories, the divine feminine, the divine masculine, trickster figures, and sacred sites. The first two are mostly harmless. The introductory chapter talks about figures such as Sir James George Frazer, Levi-Strauss, and Wagner without addressing their racism. The reason for this is made clear, as the editors repeatedly refer to the Lakota/Dakota/Nakota peoples as "Sioux". The real trouble starts with the next two chapters.

The divine feminine is discussed in terms of psychological archeytpes, literary figures, and the pre-historic Great Goddess myth. Leonard and McClure cite Marija Gimbutas and Robert Graves as if they were not completely discredited. More damningly, they discuss the divine feminine as anything and everything except divine - to Leonard and McClure, these are not figures anyone ever worshiped - cramming them into one of four archeytpes: goddesses of life, death, regeneration/sex, and triple goddesses who embody all three. Celestial Queens are reduced to goddesses of life, and any lust-object - including rape victims such as Callisto - are called goddesses of sex. Demonstrating their complete disregard for the material, they include a short story by French novelist Maurguerite Yourcenar (Kali Beheaded) as if it were an actual Hindu story from the Vedas or oral tradition, rather than her own fabrication.
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Format: Paperback
Though many have attempted such a feat, in Myth & Knowing, Leonard and McClure have finally written the foundational textbook for comparative mythologies, and, in doing so, have also created a remarkable text for exploring the transition from oral tradition to written text. As the title suggests, Myth & Knowing moves beyond a simple reiteration of the stories by grouping them into conceptual chapters (Creation Myths, The Female Divine, The Male Divine, Trickster Myths, and Sacred Places)which not only invites direct comparisons but creates archetypal structures that become the critical basis for analyzing modern mythologies and even modern epistomologies. I have used this text with great success in introductory mythology, religion, and literature classes.
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