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Mythology: Timeless Tales of Gods and Heroes Mass Market Paperback – January 1, 2011
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"No one in modern times has shown us more vividly than Edith Hamilton 'the glory that was Greece and the grandeur that was Rome.' Filtering the golden essence from the mass of classical literature, she proved how applicable to our daily lives are the humor and wisdom of more than 2,000 years ago." "New York Times"" --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
Top Customer Reviews
Hamilton puts them into sensible structures so beginners can learn in a context which are easy to understand. She provides major section titles helping readers get straight to the required story, like "Stories of Love and Adventure" You'll find "Cupid and Psyche" as a chapter.
Chapters are named mostly by story like, "The Trojan War."
She quotes from the sources, so the reader knows how it is she got her information.
Character-driven in format, readers can look up a name, find the subtitle with that name, and read why that character matters. She writes narratively, sounding a little like "Cliff's Notes." This is a good thing, because the poetry from which these myths are drawn can be overwhelming.
Nicely organized is the geneological table section. It looks like a family tree, in a English royalty kind of way.
As a writer, I use it for a quick reference guide. I usually only need a few nuggets of information, and she gives me plenty. I first acquired it high school, using it to get out of those tough jams when I did not understand books like "The Odyssey," by Homer.
More than mere reference, "Mythology" is good reading for no other purpose than serendipitous curiosity.
I fully recommend it.
Another strength of the book is how she organizes the myths in her seven parts: (1) Covers the complete pantheon of deities, including the lesser gods of Olympus and Earth and the later Roman additions, as well as the earliest heroes. (2) Retells the various tales of love, between mortals and the gods or each other, along with the Quest for the Golden Fleece and other early heroic adventures. (3) Focuses specifically on the greatest heroes, Perseus, Theseus and Hercules, with Atalanta thrown in the mix in a curious but understandable editorial decision by Hamilton. (4) Puts together Homer's Iliad and Virgil's Aeneid into a giant epic stretching from the Judgment of Paris to the founding of Roman, with the Odyssey and the tragedies of Euripides.Read more ›
The book is not organized to be a quick reference. It tells the main stories and characters as well as gives a brief section on the minor figures. For each section, the author explains where she is getting the material (for instance, from Homer or from Ovid) with a little editorial comment. Then, she relates the myth. She is giving you the story, but it does not read like a story. It reads like a college instructor giving you the highlights of the story with the occasional comment.
Although the bulk of the myths covered are either Greek or Roman, Hamilton does include some Norse mythology. Given the difference in worldview difference, I would like to have seen more contrasting of the differences.
I found this book to be a great review of the Greek and Roman myths. I found that the differences between the Greek and Roman interpretations of the same basic myth to be very interesting. It is not a substitute for reading the myths themselves, and for this, Hamilton does mention the authors and, sometimes, the play or poem. I would recommend this book.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This book is not at all enjoyable to read if you are looking for lavish, entertaining stories. It reads more like a history book. Read morePublished 2 days ago by Design Mongrel
Mythology is not the easiest subject to learn; it has nothing to do with the story being complicated or the language being too hard; there are a vast amount of work written for the... Read morePublished 3 days ago by Leo Lo
Way to small you can not even read the print. If I could give it zero stars I wouldPublished 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
Was hoping it included myths from more traditions, though I should have remembered it was only Greek & Roman
(I first read it almost 60 years ago). Read more