In these five lectures originally prepared for the CBC, Claude Levi-Strauss, one of the world's greatest living thinkers, offers the insights of a lifetime spent interpreting myths and trying to discover their significance for human understanding.
J.D. Lewis-Williams, one of the leading South African archaeologists and ethnographers, excavates meaning from the complex mythological stories of the San-Bushmen to create a larger theory of how myth is used in culture. He extracts their “nuggets,” the far-reaching but often unspoken words and concepts of language and understanding that are opaque to outsiders, to establish a more nuanced theory of the role of these myths in the thought-world and social circumstances of the San. The book -draws from the unique 19th century Bleek/Lloyd archives, more recent ethnographic work, and San rock art;-includes well-known San stories such as The Broken String, Mantis Dreams, and Creation of the Eland;-extrapolates from our understanding of San mythology into a larger model of how people create meaning from myth.
Jesus and the Trojan War looks at ways in which stories are presented and understood; and how story-tellers - and their listeners - may wittingly or unwittingly confuse fact with fiction. This book explores the parallels between four stories (the Trojan war, Moses, King Arthur, and Jesus), and the way their sources relate to their histories and contemporary relevance.
The Mary Poppins that many people know of today--a stern, but sweet, loveable, and reassuring British nanny--is a far cry from the character created by Pamela Lyndon Travers in the 1930's. Instead, this is the Mary Poppins reinvented by Disney in the eponymous movie. This book sheds light on the original Mary Poppins, Myth, Symbol, and Meaning in Mary Poppins is the only full-length study that covers all the Mary Poppins books, exposing just how subversive the pre-Disney Mary Poppins character truly was. Drawing important parallels between the character and the life of her creator, who worked as a governess herself, Grilli reveals the ways in which Mary Poppins came to unsettle the rigid and rigorous rules of Victorian and Edwardian society that most governesses embodied, taught, and passed on to their charges.
In the wake of the elegant master theories of Joseph Campbell, Mircea Eliade, Georges Dumezil, and Claude Levi-Strauss, how are mythology and the comparative study of religion to be understood? In Myth and Method, a leading team of scholars assesses the current state of the study of myth and explores the possibilities for charting a methodological middle course between the comparative and the contextual issues raised in the last ten years. In confronting these tension, they provide an outline of the most troubling questions in the field and offer a variety of responses to them.