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Interpretations of Greek Mythology


The innovative work of Walter Burkett and the 'Paris school' of Jean-Pierre Vernant has led to renewed interpretation of the Greek myths. This collections of essays avoids monolithic or exclusively structuralist interpretations. This book should be of interest to teachers and students of Greek drama and mythology.

This collection of original studies offers new interpretations of some of the best known characters and themes of Greek mythology, reflecting the complexity and fascination of the Greek imagination. Following analyses of the concept of myth and the influence of the Orient on Greek mythology, the succeeding chapters shed new light on the threatening appearance of wolf and werewolf and on such familiar figures as Oedipus, Orpheus and Narcissus. The puzzling relationship of myth and ritual is illuminated by a discussion of the ambiguities in the traditions surrounding Kronos. Where does myth end and history begin? Studies of the first Spartan and Athenian kings demonstrate ways in which myth is manipulated to suit history, and an examination of the early stages of the Delphic oracle shows that some history is actually myth. Finally, an analysis of Greek mythography illustrates how myths were handed down in the Greek tradition before they became part and parcel of Western civilisation. The volume is concluded with a bibliography of the best mythological studies of recent decades. All chapters are based on the most recent insights and methods, and they display a great variety of approaches.


List of Figures and Table

1. What is a Greek Myth? - Jan Bremmer
2. Oriental and Greek Mythology: The Meeting of Parallels - Walter Burkert
3. Oedipus and the Greek Oedipus Complex - Jan Bremmer
4. Wolves and Werewolves in Greek Thought - Richard Buxton
5. Orpheus: A Poet Among Men - Fritz Graf
6. Reflections, Echoes and Amorous Reciprocity: On Reading the Narcissus Story - Ezio Pellizer
7. Greek Myth and Ritual: The Case of Kronos - H. S. Versnel
8. Spartan Genealogies: The Mythological Representation of a Spatial Organisation - Claude Calame
9. Myths o f Early Athens - Robert Parker
10. Myth as History: The Previous Owners of the Delphic Oracle - Christiane Sourvinou-Inwood
11. Three Approaches to Greek Mythography - Albert Henrichs
12. Greek Mythology: A Select Bibliography (1965-1990) - Jan Bremmer

Notes on Contributors

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Tags: Greek, mythology, werewolf, familiar, figures