A culture without mythology is not really a civilisation. — Vilayanur S. Ramachandran (https://www.brainyquote.com)
We can all remember studying Greek and Roman mythology in school, but how many of us have expanded this study outside of our traditional western curriculum? Exploring the stories of other cultures can reignite the excitement we originally felt while reading the Greco-Roman myths of our childhood, deepen our appreciation of other cultures, and see ourselves in the heroic (and maybe the not so heroic) characters.
Examples of allusions to mythology are regularly seen in our daily lives through art and literature, even television shows and movies. Grace P. Smith notes that “the study of mythology quickens the artistic sense and judgement and increases the appreciation of art and literature”, and that “[b]oth art and literature take on a deeper meaning when revealed through mythology” (Smith, 129). Expanding our knowledge of the mythologies of other cultures can deepen this appreciation and aid in understanding their references in much of today’s pop culture.
In addition, many schools of psychology feel that understanding myths puts us in touch with ourselves and our place in society. Myths “are symbolic dramatizations of what is basic in the human personality” and “serve as portals to understanding the human condition in general, but they also touch each of us individually, and where we are touched opens the door to our self-understanding” (Mitchell, 268). Myths aid us on our journey of self-discovery as we learn from the characters and heroes in the old stories and benefit from their examples and from their mistakes.
Expand your knowledge of mythological allusions and journey further down your road of self-discovery! Learn more about the mythologies of other cultures by exploring these and other books at your NCTC campus library.
Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman (Flower Mound): BL 860 .G35 2017
The great story teller Neil Gaiman turns his fantasy writing skills toward the original Norse pantheon. Staying true to the myths, he traces the great Norse legends from the beginning of the nine worlds through the adventures of dwarfs, giants, and gods, including Odin, Thor and Loki.
Celtic Mythology by John Arnott MacCulloch (Corinth): BL 900 .M385 2004
Scholar J. A. MacCulloch retells the ancient stories of Ireland and Wales in a narrative style that will thrill new readers of Celtic folklore and those more familiar with the old tales. In addition, the book is supplemented with illustrations from rare sources, and MacCulloch addresses a chapter to the coexistence of paganism and Christianity and how they are mutually influenced.
The Hero with a Thousand Faces by Joseph Campbell (Corinth, Flower Mound and Gainesville): BL 313 .C28 2008
No discussion of mythology is complete without the insight Campbell presents into the universal motifs of the world’s great stories. Originally released in 1949, this third edition totes more illustrations, a comprehensive bibliography and easily accessible sidebars. Multiple texts and videos by and about Campbell are available through the NCTC campus libraries.
Texas Indian Myths and Legends by Jane Archer (Available through EBSCO eBook Collection) : E78 .T4 A73 2000 eb
Archer relates the myths and history of five powerful nations who once roamed our great state: the Caddo, Lipan Apache, Wichita, Comanche and Alabama-Coushatta.
Middle Eastern Mythology by S. H. (Samuel Henry) Hooke (Corinth): BL1060 .H66 2004
Hooke’s comparative presentation is based on firsthand sources and recounts the legends of the Egyptians, Babylonians, Assyrians and others. He also addresses mythological elements and parallels in the Hebrew, Jewish apocalyptic literature and New Testament texts.
Scandinavian Mythology by Hilda Roderick Ellis Davidson (Bowie): BL 860 .D384 1969
Davidson presents the world of warriors, giants, dwarfs, elves and other strange creatures from Scandinavian folklore. She also addresses the spread of Christianity and its overtaking of the Old Norse religion. Illustrations draw from many cultures and include archeological finds not previously published.
Mitchell, M. B. (2010). Learning about ourselves through fairy tales: Their psychological value. Psychological Perspectives, 53(3), 264-279. doi:10.1080/00332925.2010.501212
Smith, G. (1918). Vitalizing mythology. The Classical Journal, 14(2), 128-131. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/3288070
–Contributed by Janelle McCabe, Adjunct Librarian, Corinth Campus