i hate those dry books about popular literature, and this appears to be one until you truly come to grips with its amazingly familiar assessment of the genres of the books we read - fantasies, romance and detective stories - really ingenious once you engage with his propositions - one of the great books of literary theory
Only book that I know that creates a true theoretical model for literature. To read is like to learn a language. A professor let me borrow his copy at Vanderbilt in 1970. He said we didn't have it for a course because "It was too difficult for us", which really pissed me off. So I never gave it back. But, I read it thoroughly, over and over. I bought this most recent copy for my stepson who is a ridiculously brainy thirty year old. He is devouring it. You have to have a deep hunger to appreciate and endure this book, but in the end it is such a treasure.
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While his theories are sometimes very difficult to understand, you get a very comprehensive view of the science of literature from one of the great scholars of this century. He also does a wonderful job intertwining many other scholars into his own analysis of literature. This is a great first step for anyone beginning a journey into myth criticism.