- Paperback: 512 pages
- Publisher: Oxford University Press; Reprint edition (March 13, 2009)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0195387082
- ISBN-13: 978-0195387087
- Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 1.4 x 6 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 17 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,278,731 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Oxford Companion to World Mythology Reprint Edition
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From School Library Journal
Grade 9 Up–Dependable information, clear and concise writing, and well-chosen illustrations make this a useful resource. The volume offers easy access to a broad range of topics, including, gods and heroes; important scholars (Joseph Campbell, James Frazer); texts (I Ching, Bhagavadgita); themes (floods, Immaculate Conception); and complete overviews of world mythology. Readers searching for information on the Green Man will find links not only to the Green Knight and Adonis, but also to Dumuzi, a Sumerian fertility hero. The volume is peppered with mostly black-and-white, evocative illustrations and there is a lovely eight-page centerfold of color illustrations. Also included are pantheonic family trees and charts of equivalent deities. Attempting to cover so much territory, the editors have left a few things out. There is no entry for Midas, though the index refers readers to an article on Irish mythology that mentions the famous king. Despite a quibble or two, this is a grand book.–Herman Sutter, Saint Agnes Academy, Houston, TX
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
In the introduction to this work, Leeming, an emeritus professor of English and comparative literature who has written extensively on mythology, defines myths as "religious narratives that transcend the possibilities of common experience and that express any given culture's literal or metaphorical understanding of various aspects of reality." Covering a broad range of belief systems dating from prehistoric times to the twenty-first century, this compendium not only traces the myths of various cultures but also shows how a number of common elements thread through many sacred stories from disparate geographic areas.
Ranging in length from a single sentence to multiple pages, the approximately 1,500 entries cover deities and other mythological figures (Artemis, Job, Thor); heroic epics and other stories (Iliad, Volsunga Saga); motifs (Afterlife, Flood); mythologists (Campbell, Joseph; Frazer, Sir James); sacred books (Qur'an, Upanishads); and the mythologies of particular regions, religions, or cultures. Only a small percentage of the entries include references to sources for further information. Access is facilitated by a section that categorizes entries by cultural groups or broad topics, a network of cross-references, and an index. Adding visual appeal are a number of black-and-white illustrations and color plates, most of which reproduce artworks that depict mythological themes. Additional features include a lengthy bibliography, family trees for five major pantheons, and charts identifying Greek-Roman and Sumerian-Babylonian equivalent deities.
With more than twice as many entries, the two-volume Facts On File Encyclopedia of World Mythology and Legend (2004) identifies many more mythological figures than does Leeming's work. In addition, specialized sources such as The Oxford Dictionary of Classical Myth and Religion (2004) and Dictionary of Celtic Mythology (Oxford, 1998) offer more in-depth coverage of specific mythological cultures. The strength of The Oxford Companion to World Mythology lies in its overview articles on mythologies of particular eras and cultures and in its thematic entries that bring together mythological concepts from a variety of traditions.
Scholarly but rarely abstruse, this reasonably priced volume is particularly suitable for academic and larger public libraries. Marie Ellis
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.