Sunday, March 08, 2009

A Short History of Myth

I just finished Karen Armstrong’s A Short History of Myth, a historical, though opinionated look, at the history of myth. A Short History of Myth is part of the Myth Series, which includes authors Margaret Atwood and Alexander McCall Smith. I found it very informative; a good beginning if someone was curious about mythology across civilizations. It was well written and for the most part, easy to read. You don’t have to be a historian or intellectual to pick up Armstrong’s book, though you may have to open the dictionary occasionally, especially in the second chapter.

This is not just a neutral report. Though very informative, Armstrong has an opinion on each era of the subject matter. Especially with the last chapter, which deals with modern mythos, it is the era we live in now. Armstrong discusses Pablo Picasso, T. S. Eliot, James Joyce and Joseph Conrad. She argues that the artists are now the myth makers. Since mythology has fallen by the wayside and has been replaced with modern science and technology, people look to their artists to create heroes, something in which to believe. A Short History of Myth is a good beginning into the realm of mythology, just remember that it is not exactly an unbiased account of the past or present.

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