Bulfinch's Mythology (Modern Library Series)

Bulfinch's Mythology (Modern Library Series)

by Thomas Bulfinch
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Overview

Bulfinch's Mythology (Modern Library Series) by Thomas Bulfinch

For almost a century and a half, Bulfinch's Mythology has been the text by which the great tales of the gods and goddesses, Greek and Roman antiquity, Scandinavian, Celtic, and Oriental fables and myths, and the age of chivalry have been known. The forerunner of such interpreters as Edith Hamilton and Robert Graves, Thomas Bulfinch wanted to make these stories available to the general reader. A series of private notes to himself grew into one of the single most useful and concise guides to literature and mythology.

The stories are divided into three sections: The Age of Fable or Stories of Gods and Heroes (first published in 1855); The Age of Chivalry (1858), which contains King Arthur and His Knights, The Mabinogeon, and The Knights of English History; and The Legends of Charlemagne or The Romance of the Middle Ages (1863). For the Greek myths, Bulfinch drew on Ovid and Virgil, and for the sagas of the north, from Mallet's Northern Antiquities. provides lively versions of the myths of Zeus and Hera, Venus and Adonis, Daphne and Apollo, and their cohorts on Mount Olympus; the love story of Pygmalion and Galatea; the legends of the Trojan War and the epic wanderings of Ulysses and Aeneas; the joys of Valhalla and the furies of Thor; and the tales of Beowulf and Robin Hood.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780679640011
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 02/11/1999
Sold by: Random House
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 880
Sales rank: 370,274
File size: 3 MB

About the Author

Thomas Bulfinch was born on July 15, 1796, in Newton, Massachusetts. He was descended from a distinguished New England family; his grandfather was a well-known surgeon, and his father, Charles Bulfinch, was one of the foremost architects of his day, responsible for many Boston monuments, including the State House on Beacon Hill, as well as being an important public official and city planner. Thomas, who was one of eleven children, pursued a more sheltered career. He received the education of a member of the Boston elite--Boston Latin, Phillips Exeter, Harvard (where his classmates included the historian William Prescott)--but after he graduated in 1814 his life showed little sense of strong direction. He taught briefly at Boston Latin, assisted at a store owned by his elder brother, and worked desultorily and without much success in a number of different businesses in Washington, D.C., and Boston.

In 1837 Bulfinch began working as a clerk in the Merchant's Bank of Boston; he stayed on in that capacity until his death. The position was not a demanding one, and Bulfinch evidently had ample leisure time in which to pursue his other interests. He was secretary of the Boston Society of Natural History for a number of years, and published books reflecting the range of his interests, including Hebrew Lyrical Poetry (1853); The Boy Inventor (1860), a tribute to a precocious student of his who died young; Shakespeare Adapted for Reading Classes (1865); and Oregon and Eldorado (1866), an account of an expedition to the Pacific Northwest his father had been involved in planning. The only works of his which have retained their readership are the three volumes--The Age of Fable (1855), The Age of Chivalry (1858), and Legends of Charlemagne (1863)--eventually reprinted under the title Bulfinch's Mythology.

The thoroughness with which Bulfinch combed through his sources made his mythological books standard reference works for a long time, while the skill with which he wove the separate versions into coherent tales endeared them to a wide audience. They continue to be read for the vigor of their storytelling even when superseded by twentieth-century approaches. Bulfinch was concerned not only with recapitulating the ancient myths and legends but also with demonstrating their relationship to literature and art, and his copious cross-references to poetry and painting make his Mythology an indispensable guide to the cultural values of the nineteenth century. "Without a knowledge of mythology," he wrote, "much of the elegant literature of our own language cannot be understood or appreciated." He added: "We trust our young readers will find it a source of entertainment," and his trust seems to have been justified, judging from the many generations who have found his books an enthralling and loving introduction to the worlds of classical and medieval myth and legend.

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Bulfinch's Mythology (Barnes & Noble Classics Series) 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 107 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Bulfinch's Mythology, one of the tools used when creating my novel, Grecian Rune, is a cornerstone in the understanding of modern story-telling. Simple to understand, and decorated with acute illustrations, this mythology compilation is the one for all ages. Needless to say, it is as definitive as the works of Isaac Asimov and J.R.R. Tolkien. I strongly recomend this for anyone interested in Greek Mythology and other myths and legends.
ClassicReaderBW More than 1 year ago
Bulfinch does a great job of retelling the classic Greek/Roman myths of antiquity as well as the myths of Old Europe including, among others, Arthur, Charlemange, Orlando, and Thor. One part that stands out is the Mabinogeon which (and this is noted on page 561 of the Modern Library edition) has a Thousand and One Nights fell to it. One part that appeared to not fit into the book at all was Chapter 37 of The Age of Fable, which hastily describes a portion of Eastern Mythology. Although this section has no true faults with the information, one gets the sense that Bulfinch quickly threw the myths together and since he didn't have room for them anywhere else he put them in this chapter. Although it does not take away from the quality of the book it might have been better had Bulfinch chosen either to elaborate slightly on the myths or to not include them altogether. However, for an introduction to classical mythology for the reader who is having trouble understanding Byron or Milton or Shakespeare or a hundred other classical European and American writers this book is a godsend. Bulfinch tailored this book to just this kind of reader. At times it may seem a bit dry, but Bulfinch intended his work to be used as a reference mainly (which is why he included a great index in the back of The Age of Fable). For those readers who are interested in mythology as an end unto itself, I recommend this work as your main road map through this sometimes confusing trail. Robert Graves and Edith Hamilton's works are good also but in my opinion Bulfinch outdoes both of them. From here you will definitely want to look at the Madrus and Mathers 4 vol. edition of the Thousand Nights and One Night (that is the full title) if you liked the Eastern feel that you get in Chapter 37 in the Age of Fable and the Mabinogeon. If you are interested in the Greek and Roman myths mainly go straight to the horses mouth and read Ovid, Homer, and Virgil. For more European mythology, Malory's Le Morte D'Arthur is indespensable. I recommend Penguin's two volume edition but with some hesitation, as the annotation is a bit strange, making you flip back and forth between the front of the book and the back of the book. However, Penguin prints out almost every major mythological story, ranging from the Medieval French Romances to the Icelandic Sagas. As stated before, let Bulfinch lead you through this mass of myths, he knows what he's doing.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The material is timeless and interesting. Although the book is very inexpensive, the editing is atrocious. There many misspellings, words, phrases and in some cases, entire sentences simply missing. I would suggest that if you are going to do it, take the time to do it correctly.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I liked all the myths I can't get enough of them
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Perfect for Nook Simple Touch, true to book
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Who ever said that this book wasn't good because no kid likes history is W-R-O-N-G WRONG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Just aswome
Jerry Stevens More than 1 year ago
its good
Guest More than 1 year ago
This masterpiece is great for all ages. It is easy enough to read for say an eighth grader but true enough for a woman say at the age of 50. It is truly inspiring and worth reading. Greek Mythology is incredible and entertaining. It is worth reading.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
She sat by a tree nd burried her facr in her paws 'Firepelt i miss you...i wish you were here' she meowed to herself as a tear slipped from her eye
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
She looked to firepelt meowing "hello"
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Pads in, a large rabbit dangling from his jaws. He dropped it in the fresh kill pile, then went to a sunny spot and began grooming.
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How many chapters does this edition have.
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really captivates your imagination, well written.
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Hi kelly!
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