How Myth Gives Meaning to Human Experience
By J.F. Bierlein
(Wellspring/Ballantine, Paperback, 9780345422071, 256pp.)
Publication Date: April 6, 1999
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An intriguing exploration of the enduring significance of the world's great myths--from the dawn of time to the present day
As ancient as speech, as essential as law, myths are the stories we tell to find our identity in the cosmos. It is through mythology that we attempt to unravel not only the meaning of our actions and impulses but the significance of human existence itself. Now in Living Myths, classical scholar J. F. Bierlein explores the enduring patterns and messages of myths from every culture.
Myths, writes Bierlein, are "the eternal mirror in which we see ourselves." Living Myths delves behind the mirror and brings to light the imperishable and transcendent forces common to the myths of the world. Juxtaposing myths of fathers and sons--the Greek myth of Athamas and Phrixus, the biblical story of Abraham and Isaac, the Algonquin tale of Grandfather, Father, and Son--Bierlein uncovers essential lessons about human nature and divine will. In the Indian story of Nala and Damayanti, the Greek legends of Aphrodite, and the haunting Irish tale of Etain, Bierlein examines the transforming mystery of romantic love. Here too are tales of the world's great heroes--the Greek Theseus, the Irish Cuchulainn, and the Mexican Quetzalcoatl--and their common desire to break through the masks of appearances.
Steeped in wisdom, brimming with insights into human nature and behavior, Living Myths is a luminous exploration of the meaning of mythology through the ages and today in each of our lives.
More than 150 writers from 40 events will gather in New York City for PEN World Voices Festival of International Literature, April 28 – May 4, 2014.
For its 10th anniversary, the festival celebrates those who have dared to stand ‘on the edge,’ risking their careers, and sometimes their lives, to speak out for their art and beliefs. Join us for a wide range of events, including debates, one-on-one conversations, participatory workshops and performances in venues throughout the city. Use the code PEN14 (use PEN2014 for events at The Public Theater) and receive a 20 percent discount on most events. www.worldvoicesfestival.org