Download Myth: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions) by Robert A. Segal PDF

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By Robert A. Segal

A survey of the prior three hundred years of theorizing on fantasy, this booklet takes under consideration the paintings of such favourite thinkers as Albert Camus, Claude Levi-Strauss, Roland Barthes, C. G. Jung, and Sigmund Freud. It makes a speciality of varied methods to fantasy, from all the significant disciplines--including technology, faith, philosophy, literature, and psychology. Robert Segal considers the long run research of fable, and the potential functionality of fable on this planet because the grownup an identical of play. on the way to research different theories of delusion, Segal makes a speciality of the fantasy in regards to the destiny of the preternaturally attractive Adonis. the place one conception doesn't paintings, he substitutes one other delusion, exhibiting that, for all their claims to all-inclusiveness, definite theories, actually, purely observe to precise forms of myths. A uniform set of questions is equipped to explain either the strengths and the weaknesses of the conjectures.

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Sample text

Where for Tylor primitive thinking is personalistic and modern thinking impersonal, for Lévi-Strauss primitive thinking is concrete and modern thinking abstract. Primitive thinking deals with phenomena qualitatively rather than, like modern thinking, 29 Myth and science Reacting both against Malinowski’s view of primitives as practical rather than intellectual and against Lévy-Bruhl’s view of primitives as emotional rather than intellectual, the French structural anthropologist Claude Lévi-Strauss (b.

Myth gods were really great kings, who were deified after their deaths. Euhemerus himself maintained that the first gods were kings deified during their lives. Opposite to Tylor stands his fellow Victorian, the German-born Sanskritist Friedrich Max Müller (1823–1900), who spent his career at Oxford. Where for Tylor moderns misread myth by taking it symbolically, for Müller ancients themselves eventually came to misread their own myths, or mythical data, by gradually taking them literally. Originally symbolic descriptions of natural phenomena came to be read as literal descriptions of the attributes of gods.

Myth is primitive science, but not thereby inferior science. If myth is an instance of primitive thinking because it deals with concrete, tangible phenomena, it is an instance of thinking itself because it classifies phenomena. Lévi-Strauss maintains that all humans think in the form of classifications, specifically pairs of oppositions, and project them onto the world. Many cultural phenomena express these oppositions. Myth is distinctive in resolving or, more accurately, tempering the oppositions it expresses.

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