Exploring Greek Myth offers an extensive discussion of variant forms of myths and lesser-known stories, including important local myths and local versions of PanHellenic myths. Clark also discusses approaches to understanding myths, allowing students to gain an appreciation of the variety in one volume. Guides students from an introductory understanding of myths to a wide-ranging exploration of current scholarly approaches on mythology as a social practice and as an expression of thought Written in an informal conversational style appealing to students by an experienced lecturer in the field Offers extensive discussion of variant forms of myths and many lesser known, but deserving, stories Investigates a variety of approaches to the study of myth including: the sources of our knowledge of Greek myth, myth and ritual in ancient Greek society, comparative myth, myth and gender, hero cult, psychological interpretation of myth, and myth and philosophy Includes suggestions in each chapter for essays and research projects, as well as extensive lists of books and articles for further reading The author draws on the work of many leading scholars in the field in his exploration of topics throughout the text
List of Illustrations vii Preface ix Acknowledgments xiii Chapter One: The Knife Did It 1 Definitions and Characteristics for the Study of Myth Chapter Two: Six Hundred Gods 15 Greek Myth and Greek Religion Chapter Three: Homer’s Beauty Pageant 30 The Traditions of Myth Chapter Four: Pelops’ Shoulder 43 Sources for the Study of Myth Chapter Five: Ikaros’ Wings, Aktaion’s Dogs 54 Myth and Meaning Chapter Six: The Bones of Orestes 68 Heroes in Myth and Society Chapter Seven: Born from the Earth 80 Founders of Cities and Families Chapter Eight: The Judgment of Paris 97 Comparative Myth Chapter Nine: Boys in Dresses, Brides with Beards 111 Myth and Gender Chapter Ten: Agamemnon’s Mask? 126 Myth and History Chapter Eleven: Orestes on Trial 140 Myth and Thought Chapter Twelve: Plato and the Poets 154 Philosophy and Myth Chapter Thirteen: Conclusion 168 Notes 171 References 179 Index 187
“This volume admirably achieves Clark’s goal of bridging “the gap between the introductory books and the scholarly studies. Summing Up: Recommended. Lower-level undergraduates and above; general readers.” (Choice, 1 October 2012)
Matthew Clark is Associate Professor of Ancient Greek Literature and Culture in the Department of Humanities at York University in Toronto. His previous publications include Out of Line: Homeric Composition Beyond the Hexameter (1997), A Matter of Style: Writing and Technique (2002), and Narrative Structures and the Language of the Self (2010).
Exploring Greek Myth offers a unique and extensive discussion of variant forms of myths and many lesser-known stories, including important local myths, known mostly in a particular city, and local versions of the PanHellenic myths; both crucially reflect the rituals, social practices, and mythic landscape of the world in which they were told. The book presents research that has accumulated over the past decades in a way that is accessible for those who are not yet scholars in the field. In doing so, it fills in the gap between introductory texts about Greek myth and scholarly works on the subject. Clark begins with a provisional definition of myth, and then moves on to consider a range of topics, which include the sources of our knowledge of Greek myth, myth and ritual in ancient Greek society, comparative myth, myth and gender, hero cult, psychological interpretation of myth, and myth and philosophy. By drawing on the work and analytical methods of many leading scholars in the field, the book helps students appreciate the variety of the study of myth in one volume.
“There is no better guide to virtually all one needs to know to begin to appreciate what myth was and meant to the ancient Greeks. Exploring Greek Myth is the first book a student should read after the myths themselves.” – Eric Csapo, University of Sydney “Exploring Greek Myth is an ingenious and learned approach to a topic that is all too often treated superficially and even condescendingly. Matthew Clark shows the depth of thought that myth requires of its interpreters, and his book truly speaks for itself in its eloquence and insight.” - Gregory Nagy, Francis Jones Professor of Classical Greek Literature and Professor of Comparative Literature, Harvard University
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