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World Mythology: An Anthology of Great Myths and Epics 3rd Edition

3.8 out of 5 stars 53 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0844259666
ISBN-10: 0844259667
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Product Details

  • Lexile Measure: 1030L (What's this?)
  • Paperback: 722 pages
  • Publisher: McGraw-Hill Education; 3 edition (February 12, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0844259667
  • ISBN-13: 978-0844259666
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1.5 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (53 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #22,997 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
First off, for a paperback this book is extremely overpriced. Why did I get it? I was required to purchase it for a college mythology course. I was hoping it would be a great source of world myth, but I was quickly disappointed. Rosenberg waters down and CENSORS the mythology.
For example: In the story of Osiris and Isis, Rosenberg's version said that all of Osiris' parts were recovered. This is not true to the myth as any casual mythology student can tell you. A fish ate one part that was never recovered. Another omission was from Gilgamesh when Enkidu is tamed. Rosenberg leaves out the fact that the "priestess"was actually a temple harlot and she tamed him through six days of sex. These are only the first two stories I have read and I am sure there will be more the further I get into it. It is almost as if Rosenberg is afraid to tackle the adult issues presented in a lot of mythology.
Now normally I would not have a problem with leaving a little out here or there. But when students are required to fully analyze the meaning of a myth or epic we need the whole story. For the price and lack of cartoony illustrations this book is obviously not aimed at children. Give us the unedited, un-PC, correct, original versions of the myths.I don't want to assume things that should be in the stories to begin with.
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Format: Paperback
Unfortunately, this is about as good as it gets if you want students to read myths (rather than reading ABOUT myths) and give them some cultural variety. The alternative for an instructor is putting together a prohibitively expensive reader, or requiring a whole list of books, or depending on students to read excerpts from books on library reserve (which they ordinarily won't do), or requiring other single-volume texts that are imperfect in their own ways. (Thury and DeVinney's "Introduction to Mythology," good as it is, is labyrinthine in its organization and would make my students leap off the nearest cliff; Roy Willis's "World Mythology" is all descriptions and summaries, with no narratives at all.)

This collection leaves much to be desired, though, and so do Rosenberg's interpretations. I'm not sure what her specialty is, but in many cases she relies on poor sources. For the Celtic material, for instance, she draws from reprints of 19th and early 20th century texts that are themselves inaccurate fairy-tale-style retellings of the actual texts. Her descriptions of Celtic belief are also grossly outdated: so far as we now know, the Celts were not sun worshippers and their major holidays were not at the solstices and equinoxes. Even the most cursory research would have led her to more accurate translations in scholarly journals, or she could have used the same sources that Gantz did for his much more accurate renditions of Irish myth in "Early Irish Myths and Sagas"--one of the many texts one would have to require in the multi-text syllabus.
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Format: Hardcover
I think a number of the other reviews missed the point in this volume. This book offers an amazingly diverse sampling of the world's mythologies, preceding each myth with an introduction that attempts to provide some cultural context. These are NOT the original myths, as people have noted, but that is done intentionally. Had each of these stories been included in its original form the result would have been a cyclopean tome that likely would have to be broken into numerous volumes. But why do that? There are already countless disparate sources available for one to find the original stories -- this book offers more of a "world mythology digest" that tries to hit on the key themes and events of each story it relates, and does a decent enough job doing so.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I got this for my College Mythology Course, cheaper on here than in the bookstore of course. While there are better and more in depth stories elsewhere for Mythology, I really like the collection here as far as Culturally and the Historical references that proceed each story. It's nice to get some background information about the origins of the stories as well as the summaries of all the names/familia listed in one place for a quick reference at the start of the section. I recommend reading the story prior to the history section that precedes it, however, if you've never heard it before, because it will spoil it for you! Just an FYI! But all in all this is a pretty decent book, but there are better, more elaborated mythology books out there. As this one was required for class though it isn't bad, and I can see why it was chosen as it goes beyond just Greek Mythology and really collects Mythology from all around the World, which is very nice. Recommended!
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I bought this for a college mythology class because obviously it's cheaper here than at the bookstore. Since it's a paperback, I wasn't intimidated by it. And I was pleasantly surprised at the wide variety of myths available, and at how easy they are to read. Others are easier than others. The names can get confusing. There are Greek myths, of course, but there's also myths from South America, China, India, Africa, and many more. Obviously, these are not the original myths. (I don't even want to think at how big and heavy that book(s) would be.) These are revised versions which contain the big ideas and major plot points. And since, many of these myths are centuries old, there is room for interpretation. It has several long myths, usually called epics. There are excerpts of the Illiad, the Aneaid, Legend of King Arthur, and the Ramayana (my personal favorite), and others which we didn't get to in class. It's great for just reading and learning something new. Not to mention that before each myth there's some historical info and a list of characters. I wouldn't use it as actual reference material if I was to write a serious paper, but it's good info to have around. It was also perfect for the mythology class I had. It wasn't an intro class to future classes, it was a one time humanities class, which I thoroughly enjoyed. So, if you like mythology, but don't want to get too much in depth, this one is a good choice.
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