- Series: Modern Library (Paperback)
- Paperback: 888 pages
- Publisher: Modern Library; Reprint edition (August 11, 1998)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0375751475
- ISBN-13: 978-0375751479
- Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 1.9 x 8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 243 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #644,033 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Bulfinch's Mythology: Includes The Age of Fable, The Age of Chivalry & Legends of Charlemagne (Modern Library (Paperback)) Paperback – August 11, 1998
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From the Inside Flap
For almost a century and a half, Bulfinch's Mythology has been the text by which the great tales of the gods and goddesses, Greek and Roman antiquity; Scandinavian, Celtic, and Oriental fables and myths; and the age of chivalry have been known.
The stories are divided into three sections: The Age of Fable or Stories of Gods and Heroes (first published in 1855); The Age of Chivalry (1858), which contains King Arthur and His Knights, The Mabinogeon, and The Knights of English History; and Legends of Charlemagne or Romance of the Middle Ages (1863). For the Greek myths, Bulfinch drew on Ovid and Virgil, and for the sagas of the north, from Mallet's Northern Antiquities. He provides lively versions of the myths of Zeus and Hera, Venus and Adonis, Daphne and Apollo, and their cohorts on Mount Olympus; the love story of Pygmalion and Galatea; the legends of the Trojan War and the epic wanderings of Ulysses and Aeneas; the joys of Valhalla and the furies of Thor; and the tales of Beowulf and Robin Hood.
The tales are eminently readable. As Bulfinch wrote, "Without a knowledge of mythology much of the elegant literature of our own language cannot be understood and appreciated. . . . Our book is an attempt to solve this problem, by telling the stories of mythology in such a manner as to make them a source of amusement."
Thomas Bulfinch, in his day job, was a clerk in the Merchant's Bank of Boston, an undemanding position that afforded him ample leisure time in which to pursue his other interests. In addition to serving as secretary of the Boston Society of Natural History, he thoroughly researched the myths and legends and copiously cross-referenced them with literature and art. Assuch, the myths are an indispensable guide to the cultural values of the nineteenth century; however, it is the vigor of the stories themselves that returns generation after generation to Bulfinch.
About the Author
Thomas Bulfinch (1796–1867) was an American writer, Latinist, and banker who wrote and collected the first popular English-language retellings of Greek, Roman, Eastern, Scandinavian, Arthurian, and medieval myths in his famous three-volume compilation, Bulfinch’s Mythology. "Without a knowledge of mythology," he wrote, "much of the elegant literature of our own language cannot be understood or appreciated." He added: "We trust our young readers will find it a source of entertainment," and his trust seems to have been justified, judging from the many generations who have found his books an enthralling and loving introduction to the worlds of classical and medieval myth and legend.
Alberto Manguel is an internationally acclaimed anthologist, translator, editor, and bestselling writer of several award-winning books, including A Dictionary of Imaginary Places and A History of Reading. He was born in Buenos Aires, moved to Canada in 1982, and now lives in France, where he has been named an Officer of the Order of Arts and Letters.
Top customer reviews
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Furthermore, Bulfinch's approach is affected by the time period (mid 1800s), social norms, and his own personal opinion; he often slides in his own comments which leads the reader to doubt that he's telling the entire story-- and most of the time, he doesn't tell the whole story. He manages to exclude a lot of the sexual activity of the gods (which anyone who knows anything about mythology knows that the gods are always having affairs... ALWAYS) and insinuates that the gods were just spending time with one another. He also leaves out some of the gory details which are imperative in most stories; he glides over important scenes and repeatedly spends time explaining unimportant scenes instead.
Nevertheless, it's a good read if you're looking for an introductory book about Roman and Greek mythology but keep in mind that these stories have many plot variations, just because it's in this book doesn't mean it's a fact. Once you've read this, I encourage you to read Ovid's "Metamorphoses;" Ovid is relaxed and comedic-some of his stories are told more for the entertaining factor than correctness, but it's still a very good, enjoyable read.
I hope this helped!
-K. J. Burks
1. This version has no maps or drawings. (Granted, nowhere does it say it is illustrated.)
2. The footnotes are a mess: they have been inserted inline with the text [Footnote: Example] which is odd. In addition, many of the footnotes are [Footnote: See Proverbial Expressions] yet the section of Proverbial Expressions is left out of this edition.
3. The glossary is virtually worthless. In my illustrated version, the "glossary" is a Dictionary and Index. It gives you good information and page numbers so you can refer to the item in the book, especially helpful if it is a person who appears several times in the book. Also, the glossary in this edition has significantly fewer entries.
4. The illustrated version also has an index of the poets Bulfinch quotes, which is quite extensive. If you want to see examples of Milton using mythology in Paradise Lost, it is quite easy to look up. However, the poet index is completely omitted in this edition.
The worst part is that if someone is not familiar with Bulfinch's Mythology and they get this edition, they will get the information, but will miss the value, as this is not a book so much designed to be read cover to cover as it is to be read alongside Virgil or Ovid to help in understanding As Bulfinch has synthesized the myths and legends. It is a wonderful book, but this edition is missing some of the most important things.
I would recommend shelling out a few more dollars and getting a better edition.
This is THE go-to symposium of Greek myth, and also covers a great deal of Norse mythos as well.
For being on the kindle and being free, its an excellent book for a great price. We are not sorry to have it in our library.