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Reply To: Defining Myth


Thank you, thegoaloflifeisrapture (aka Esther), for sharing these passages from two amazing authors. Jules Cashford’s The Myth of the Goddess: The Evolution of an Image (written with Anne Baring) is one of my favorite post-Campbell works – a comprehensive study drawing on Campbell, Jung, and Hillman, among others. And Marina Warner’s From the Beast to the Blonde: On Fairy Tales and Their Tellers is an essential work on fairy tales (and winner of a Mythopoeic Award).

Of course, I know you know that, but it’s worth mentioning for those who don’t (which just scratches the surface of these authors’ contributions to the field of mythological studies – not to mention how important their voices are in a field once dominated by a masculine perspective).

Warner’s point especially resonates, given the tendency among the general public to assume a text in print represents the definitive version of a myth, as if such a thing exists. Fortunately, that’s an attitude more difficult to maintain today than in the past, thanks to the multiple reimaginings of myths available today (e.g. the many retellings of episodes from the Odyssey – from Margaret Atwood’s The Penelopiad to Madeline Miller’s Circe).