Myth: Its Meaning and Functions in Ancient and Other Cultures

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521098021
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 1/28/1973
  • Pages: 299
  • Product dimensions: 6.01 (w) x 9.02 (h) x 0.78 (d)

Meet the Author

Geoffrey Kirk (1921-2003) held the regius chair in Greek at Cambridge University from 1974 to 1982 and was a major figure in the study of the presocratic philosophers and early Greek epic poetry.

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Table of Contents

Preface v
Abbreviations ix
I Myth, Ritual and Folktale 1
1 Introductory 1
2 Myth, religion and ritual 8
3 The relation of myths to folktales 31
II Levi-Strauss and the Structural Approach 42
1 An outline of the theory with some preliminary questions 42
2 A relatively simple example--the tale of Asdiwal 50
3 The South American material 58
4 Geriguiaguiatugo and related myths 63
5 Some desirable modifications 73
6 The limits of the structural approach 77
III The Nature of Myths in Ancient Mesopotamia 84
1 Introduction 84
2 Irrigation and fertility 90
3 Three myths of the underworld 107
4 The nature of Sumerian myths 115
5 Akkadian myths 118
IV Nature and Culture: Gilgamesh, Centaurs and Cyclopes 132
1 Gilgamesh 132
2 The Centaurs 152
3 The Cyclopes 162
V The Qualities of Greek Myths 172
1 The thematic simplicity of the myths 172
2 Basic concerns underlying the conventional structure 190
3 A comparison with Germanic, Egyptian and Hindu mythology 205
4 The myths of Western Asia--Hurrian Kumarbi and Greek Kronos 213
5 The myths of Western Asia--Hittite and Canaanite 220
6 Greek and Asiatic myths: a summary 223
7 Mythical speculation in Hesiod 226
8 Mythical and rational thought 238
VI Tales, Dreams, Symbols: Towards a Fuller Understanding of Myths 252
1 A suggested typology of functions 252
2 Theories of mythical expression: Cassirer and others 261
3 Fantasy and dreams 268
4 Archetypes and symbols 275
5 Possibilities of origin 280
Index 287
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