Theories of Mythology / Edition 1

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Theories of Mythology provides students with both a history of theories of myth and a practical ‘how-to’ guide to interpreting myth, the most elementary form of narrative.

  • Both a history of theories of myth and a practical ‘how-to’ guide to interpreting myth.
  • Introduces the major theories of myth from the nineteenth century to the present day.
  • Covers comparative approaches, psychoanalysis, ritual theories of myth, structuralism, and ideological analysis.
  • Supplies readers with the theoretical tools for imitating each method.
  • Features detailed exemplary readings of familiar myths.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"I have rarely been in a position to recommend a book with more enthusiasm. It is an extremely lucid introduction to theories of myth and is accessible to those with no prior knowledge. The book is the most comprehensive of its kind - and the most useful." Robert L. Fowler, University of Bristol

"An integrated, historical, broad-based, wide-ranging general study of the interpretation of myth that covers all the major schools and shows how they relate to one another, grow out of one another and are still interesting today. He enlightens his deep understanding with wit and delight and a clear, lucent style. A superb achievement." Barry Powell, University of Wisconsin-Madison

"What Csapo has done is lucid, illuminating, refreshing and extremely informative. I recommend it to anyone looking for an intellectually engaging overview of theories of interpretation of myth." University of Toronto Quarterly

"It should certainly be in all academic libraries." Journal of Classics Teaching

"It is a pity that J.G. Frazer appropriated the title "The Golden Bough". This image is far better suited to Csapo's luminous guide through a forest difficult to see for the trees." Phoenix

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780631232483
  • Publisher: Wiley
  • Publication date: 10/28/2004
  • Series: Ancient Cultures Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 352
  • Sales rank: 809,466
  • Product dimensions: 6.05 (w) x 9.08 (h) x 1.02 (d)

Meet the Author

Eric Csapo is Associate Professor of Classics at the University of Toronto. He is the author and editor of numerous books and articles on ancient Greek drama, theatre, myth, religion, and society, including The Contexts of Ancient Drama (co-edited, 1995).

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Table of Contents

List of Figures.


1. Introducing “Myth”.

2. Comparative Approaches:.

The Rise of the Comparative Method.

Max Müller and Solar Mythology.

James Frazer.

The World According to Frazer: Problems and Presuppositions.

The Urmyth: A Study in and of Comparison.

Comparison of the Greek and Hittite Myths of the Divine Succession.

3. Psychology:.

Freud and the Discovery of the Unconscious.

Psychoanalysis to Myth Analysis.

Freud and Anthropology.

Freud in his Social and Theoretical Context.

4. Ritual Theories:.

Social Anthropology.

Jane Harrison and Ritualism.

Walter Burkert and Biosociology.

Burkert’s Homo Necans.

5. Structuralism:.

Saussure and Structural Linguistics.

Syntagmatic Structuralism.

A Critique of Syntagmatic Structuralism.

Paradigmatic Structuralism.


Total Structure.

Totalizing Structure.

6. Social Ideologies:.

Structure and Ideology.

Poststructualisms, Postmodernism, and Ideology.

Decrypting Ideology.

An Ideological Analysis of the Myth of Heracles.


A Little Further Reading.



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