According to its editor, who has published other works on symbolism and folk literature, this compilation seeks to incorporate the relevant entries from "Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase and Fable" with new material treating myths and legends of Eastern, Far Eastern, African, and other cultures that Brewer neglected. Its more than 4,000 alphabetically arranged entries focus on mythological places and beings, animals and plants associated with myths and legends, and common mythological themes. In addition, it devotes a smattering of articles to fictional characters (e.g., "Pinocchio", "Uncle Remus") and to twentieth-century phenomena (e.g., "Bermuda Triangle", "Loch Ness monster") Although most entries are approximately one paragraph in length, some extend to several columns. Pronunciation is indicated when appropriate. Cross-references are numerous, but, unfortunately, they are not provided consistently. For example, only two of the 20 names of swords in the entry "sword" actually appear with a cross-reference in their appropriate alphabetical sequence A comparison of the entries on a 45-page sample of this work with the latest edition of "Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase and Fable" ["RBB" Mr 1 90] revealed that only five entries (including "Fortune Islands", "kingfisher", and "woodpecker") were actually new. All of the other entries were extracted verbatim from the parent work except for 17 that had been augmented with new material. In general, the entries most frequently expanded were those dealing with animals in myth and legend (e.g., "cock", "frog", "lamb", "owl", "whale") For most libraries that own a recent edition of "Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase and Fable" and a good, general mythological dictionary, such as "The Facts On File Encyclopedia of World Mythology and Legend" ["RBB" F 15 89], the small amount of additional information in this work will not be sufficient to justify its purchase.
Extracts from Brewer's 1870 Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, identifying people, places, events, and themes from mythology-- mostly classical, but with a smattering from other European and non-European traditions. Its interest today is as much the peculiar Victorian view of mythology than the primary information. Unlike many such dictionaries, however, it does indicate the pronunciation of foreign names. No bibliography. Acidic paper. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)