Iron John: A Book about Men

( 9 )

Overview

"In this timeless and deeply learned classic, poet and translator Robert Bly offers nothing less than a new vision of what it is to be a man." "Bly's vision is based on his ongoing work with men, as well as on reflections on his own life. He addresses the devastating effects of remote fathers and mourns the disappearance of male initiation rites in our culture. Finding rich meaning in ancient stories and legends, Bly uses the Grimm fairy tale "Iron John" - in which a mentor or "Wild Man" guides a young man through eight stages of male growth - to ...
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Overview

"In this timeless and deeply learned classic, poet and translator Robert Bly offers nothing less than a new vision of what it is to be a man." "Bly's vision is based on his ongoing work with men, as well as on reflections on his own life. He addresses the devastating effects of remote fathers and mourns the disappearance of male initiation rites in our culture. Finding rich meaning in ancient stories and legends, Bly uses the Grimm fairy tale "Iron John" - in which a mentor or "Wild Man" guides a young man through eight stages of male growth - to remind us of ways of knowing long forgotten, images of deep and vigorous masculinity centered in feeling and protective of the young." At once down-to-earth and elevated, combining the grandeur of myth with the practical and often painful lessons of our own histories, Iron John is an astonishing work, translated into a dozen languages, that will continue to guide and inspire men - and women - for years to come.
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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Poet Bly had a surprise hit and publishing phenomenon with this rich meditation on the application of folklore, archetype, psychology, and history to an enriched sense of manhood that goes beyond empty machismo.
Curled Up with a Good Book 7/25/05
"A 'classic' of sexual politics...[Bly's] heartfelt analysis of the Iron John, story [is] a delight to read and an inspiration."
Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi
It is refreshing these days to read a book that does not lay the blame for America's collective ills on social injustice....Mr. Bly's book is important and timely....It suggests that a young man better forget about growing up unless he has the sensitivity of a Jung, the brains of an Einstein and the determination of a General Patton, plus a good dose of luck. -- The New York Times Books of the Century, Dec. 9, 1990
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780306813764
  • Publisher: Da Capo Press
  • Publication date: 7/26/2004
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 288
  • Sales rank: 88,509
  • Product dimensions: 5.63 (w) x 8.29 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Robert Bly is a poet, author, translator, activist, and leader of the mythopoetic men's movement. Bly has received many awards, including the National Book Award, for his poetry; in 2013, he was awarded the Poetry Society of America's Robert Frost Medal, a lifetime achievement award. He lives in Moose Lake, Minnesota.
robertbly.com

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Table of Contents

Preface to the Da Capo edition : Iron John after a decade or so
1 The pillow and the key 1
2 When one hair turns gold 28
3 The road of ashes, descent, and grief 56
4 The hunger for the king in a time with no father 92
5 The meeting with the God-woman in the garden 123
6 To bring the interior warriors back to life 146
7 Riding the red, the white, and the black horses 180
8 The wound by the king's men 207
Epilogue : the wild man in ancient religion, literature, and folk life 238
The story of Iron John 250
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 9 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(4)

4 Star

(2)

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Sort by: Showing all of 9 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 3, 2004

    Life Changing

    As a man that has been, in one way or another, confused and bewildered for most of his life, I found this book to be simply life changing. Robert Bly has shown me the key to what has been missing in most of the relationships that I have had throughtout my life. I was completely astouded and pleased to learn how past ancient cultures knew so much about the essence of manhood and how they passed it down through mythology, legends and fairy tales. At the same time it has made me sad that this knowledge has been mostly lost in our everyday modern lives. The book was difficult to read because Bly jumps from one metaphor into the next, sometimes without explanation. Possibly this was done to make you 'feel' the meaning of the book without thinking too much. At any cost, it is well worth the time for anyone who is trying to understand his place in this world as a man.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted July 25, 2011

    Hard to follow

    I am not finished with the book just yet, but so far am finding it very difficult to follow. Every now and then it will flow easier for a little while though. Bly gives examples or analogies to help illustrate his point, but doesnt fully explain them and a lot of times I was left asking more questions instead of having a clearer answer.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 11, 2010

    Not so good...

    I personally feel as though this book is Robert Bly's way of broadcasting himself. He inserts his poetry, which seems extremely self-serving. I feel as though his book has generally good ideas, but they are swarmed with too wide a variety of examples without going deep enough into detail to explain each situation. The book is tough to understand because it seems all over the place. The concepts are important for society to be aware of: men needn't hide their inner 'wild man'. It's true, a man needs to feel free to express himself in ways nature intended him to. However, the book is too long for students and too short for the specialists. I think Mr. Bly fell flat on this attempt.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 18, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    Men find modern meaning in primal myth

    Looking through the lens of myth, poet Robert Bly concludes that the Industrial Revolution pulled families apart. He blames absent fathers who failed to initiate boys into adulthood for many of today¿s cultural woes, including passivity among men, unhappy marriages and the prevalence of gangs. Bly cites stories from the ancient Greeks through the Brothers Grimm to show that young men¿s struggle to achieve mature adulthood has remained constant throughout history. The myth of Iron John follows the development of a young prince from his early ties to his mother, to his maturation and entry into the world of his father. Mothers, says Bly, must relinquish their babies to enable their sons to grow up. Bly uses his ramble through literature to explore deep issues that play out in men¿s personal and work lives. His metaphoric, poetic language may be off-putting to concrete thinkers, but getAbstract recommends Bly¿s classic to men and women who are looking for insight into modern men¿s psychic drives and struggles.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 20, 2009

    A must read

    I have given away a dozen copies. The cover makes it look like a weird book, but it offers incredible insight into the confusion of being male in the modern world, while showing us the richness of folk lore long forgotten.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 30, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted August 26, 2010

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 19, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted November 15, 2008

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