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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful weave of mythology and symbolism...
A book I would never have gotten if not for my final course I took in univeristy, a course on Mythology and Symbolism, I went into this book thinking, "Gosh, myths. Yawn."
I was sadly mistaken. Parallelling Joseph Campbell's notion of universal myths, this book is an exciting journey through various myth-types that seem to crop up in nearly every culture...
Published on June 17, 2001 by Jonathan Burgoine

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72 of 85 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Appalled
Having reviewed this apparently popular textbook for a course on comparative mythology I am teaching, I can hardly believe that any university would permit its use, let alone that Oxford University Press would consent to publish it.

Leeming, based on his collected works, is a single-minded polemicist for universalism, goddess theology, and Jungian...
Published on July 2, 2007 by No snappy nickname


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72 of 85 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Appalled, July 2, 2007
This review is from: The World of Myth: An Anthology (Paperback)
Having reviewed this apparently popular textbook for a course on comparative mythology I am teaching, I can hardly believe that any university would permit its use, let alone that Oxford University Press would consent to publish it.

Leeming, based on his collected works, is a single-minded polemicist for universalism, goddess theology, and Jungian interpretation. All of his introductions present this interpretation as fact, and all the books in his recommended bibliography support it or can be distorted in order to do so. No dissenting voices are given so much as a footnote.

Worse, however, is Leeming's undiscriminating use of sources for the versions of myths he anthologizes. His main sources for Greek myth are the literary but highly unreliable Robert Graves (who retold myths in order to advance the thesis of his own _The White Goddess_) and Ovid, who despite his excellence as a poet can hardly be presented as an accurate mirror of Greek attitudes. Leeming also quotes an entirely erroneous passage on Mithras from _The Woman's Encyclopedia of Myths and Secrets_, a neopagan polemic written by Barbara Walker, whose only qualifactions are memberships in several mineralogical societies, and _Lost Goddesses of Ancient Greece_, from which he draws a version of the Pandora story reinvented, entirely out of the author's imagination, as a goddess myth.

It is difficult enough teaching modern students to appreciate the difference between primary and secondary sources without this muddying of the waters. Avoid at all costs.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful weave of mythology and symbolism..., June 17, 2001
This review is from: The World of Myth: An Anthology (Paperback)
A book I would never have gotten if not for my final course I took in univeristy, a course on Mythology and Symbolism, I went into this book thinking, "Gosh, myths. Yawn."
I was sadly mistaken. Parallelling Joseph Campbell's notion of universal myths, this book is an exciting journey through various myth-types that seem to crop up in nearly every culture. Explore Creation Myths, Flood Myths, Hero Myths, and Object Myths, for a few examples, in a way that crosses cultures and time periods with ease. A truly diverse selection is in this work, this is not just your typical compilation of Greek and Roman myths. Eastern and Western mythologies tie in with Celtic and Asian and Nordic and Hebrew.
If you are at all interested in mythology, this is the book for you.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Handy reference, though not exactly unbiased, June 2, 2008
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This review is from: The World of Myth: An Anthology (Paperback)
The World of Myth was my textbook for a college course on world mythology. It is a handy reference that brings together several myths from different societies under the general headings of: Creation, Flood, Afterlife, Apocalypse, Hero, Place/Object Myths, and so on.

The good news: it's useful to have these myths together in something of a synoptic format, such that the reader can easily draw lines of similarity and difference. All traditions are viewed equally, without preference to one or another as necessarily "more true". The author doesn't appear to take sides. Christian stories are told alongside those of ancient Greece, India, Africa, and so on. This seems like a reasonable way of doing business when it comes to mythology in an academic context.

The bad news: while I appreciate the work of Joseph Campbell and Carl Jung, their ideas do not represent the whole of scholarship on mythology. I agree with an earlier reviewer who pointed out a bias in the book toward universalist views. It would have been nice to see a broader palette of ideas represented, beyond just a couple of sentences in passing. Scholars such as Levi-Strauss, Malinowski, Burkert, Kirk, and Propp all presented interesting ideas that would be helpful to a study of mythology. There are certainly others as well, but these come to mind immediately.

In favoring the psychological/universalist view, we miss the ideas of the functionalist and structuralist schools (among others) and end up assuming too much about the "facts" of mythology. So while there's no bias in this book with regard to a particular religion and its set of stories, there is an academic bias that comes through in the author's prefatory remarks for each section.

Overall: while I think the coverage is not as broad as it could have been, for a basic understanding of myths, this is a good text. The real strength is in the organization of myths by category, to give students a feel for how societies have expressed similar (though not identical) ideas in their storytelling.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What a Wonderful Book, August 18, 2009
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Eugene Jones (Jacksonville, NC) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The World of Myth (Hardcover)
I bought this book for a college class. I thought that I would end up stacking it with all of the rest. As I read the stories to do my homework, I began reading a whole lot more than I was required. The stories are short enough for the occasional reader to enjoy, but transition nicely for someone who wants to read a lot.
I highly recommend this book for anyone who wants to learn how similar all of our cultures really are. If we could all learn how similar we are, it would be easier for us to overlook our differences and learn to get along...
I also recommend this book for any history buffs, like me, who just enjoy reading tales from our ancestors...
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Excellence of Leeming, August 30, 2006
This review is from: The World of Myth: An Anthology (Paperback)
Leeming is perhaps the premiere authority on comparative mythology today. He is the author and/or editor of numerous titles on the subject. The quality and depth of coverage of "The World of Myth: An Anthology" is no exception to his legacy of excellence. The book is loaded with bibliographies of the finest works ever written on the subject of mythology and religion. It is ideal as a foundation to mythology for anyone who wishes to take a personal journey through history, literature and religion.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Very Readable, June 15, 2002
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Shepen "ladysekhmet9" (Illinois, United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The World of Myth: An Anthology (Paperback)
Like other reviewers, I would have not given this book a second thought were it not one of my textbooks for English 102. I was pleasantly surprised! It is a very enjoyable introduction to viewing myths from the Jungian perspective. There are stories from all over the world, including the Bible, the Torah, and the Koran. While I am suspicious of a couple of the sources that Leeming uses, most are wonderful, from scholars like Joseph Campbell and Samuel Noah Kramer. I appreciate the most that there are actual translations of important myths like those of Inanna and Pan instead of paraphrasing or summaries: hearing them in their original lyrical form makes a BIG difference! There are few books that I will not sell back at the end of the semester: this is one that I hung on to!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book for school! and then some..., October 15, 2009
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This review is from: The World of Myth: An Anthology (Paperback)
I loved this book soo much that im reading this after my class is over.

:)
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4.0 out of 5 stars Good Reference Material, March 10, 2007
This review is from: The World of Myth: An Anthology (Paperback)
I purchased this book for a college class - not only was it more economical to purchase from Amazon, but delivery was much quicker. This book is great as reference material, very easy to follow with a good layout. Index is actually useful to find specific mythological references through out the book. For the person who is just looking for some brief overview's of creation, flood, and god myths it is a good addition to the bookshelf.
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3.0 out of 5 stars It was good, but took awhile to arrive, April 29, 2014
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This review is from: The World of Myth: An Anthology (Paperback)
The book arrived in good condition without any markings on it. My problem was how long it took me to get it for class. Also on a personal level I don't like that in the book they have religious passages as apart of a mythology book.
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3.0 out of 5 stars required for class, April 28, 2014
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Hey this is an interesting book it also was required and it was cheaper than purchasing it through the book store at school so price definitely played a role in purchasing the book.
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The World of Myth: An Anthology
The World of Myth: An Anthology by David Adams Leeming (Paperback - 1991)
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