Wed 23 Apr, 2003 04:47 pm
I am not certain whether this discussion should be in history or books.
Am reading a volume of archetypal criticism by Annis Pratt and am struck by her citation that so many of the Greek myths involve rapes because as the Achaeans came into the Greek peninsula, they overtook the local goddesses, mating or marrying them to their own male gods. We all have known this for years.
I wrote my thesis on a figure in Celtic literature known as the Sovereignty Goddess who grants the king the right to rule. She appears in the myth of the Ui Neill, for many generations pretenders to the kingship of the entire island, as the hideous guardian of well. When the first of the three Ui Neill brothers asks for water, she demands a kiss. He refuses because of her ugliness (a physician presented a paper at the Harvard Celtic Collequium on the similiarity between the description of the crone and the symptoms of advanced scurvy). The second brother brushes his lips to her cheek. The third brother sleeps with her and she reveals herself as a beautiful maiden known as the soverignty and he founds a dynasty.
Why is this so different than the Greek myths?
Well, actually, I suppose that is better placed in "Books".
I don't know an answer, but Myth has existed in every society. Indeed, it would seem to be a basic constituent of human culture. Because the variety is so great, I don't think, it is easy to generalize about the nature of myths.
But it is clear that in their general characteristics and in their details a people's myths reflect, express, and explore the people's self-image. The study of myth is thus of central importance in the study both of individual societies and of human culture as a whole. britannica.com
Moved to Books- Left shadow topic in History
Okay. The starting point is a book and while I do not want to discuss myths exclusively, they are part of the fuel which will, hopefully, get the discussion off the ground.
As I said, I wasn't really certain where to put this. I have contacted Annis Pratt -- who has voluntarily chosen to live in Detroit! -- to ask her about her book and to discuss directly with her some aspects of myth.
I found seeing two movies, Bowling for Columbine and Listen to Her, while reading Pratt's book to be significant in terms of thought. Will return later. Rather rushed today!