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Bulfinch's Mythology (1881)

de Thomas Bulfinch

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Sèrie: Bulfinch's Mythology (1-3)

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For almost a century and a half, Bulfinch's Mythology has been the text by which the great tales of the gods and goddesses, Greek and Roman antiquity; Scandinavian, Celtic, and Oriental fables and myths; and the age of chivalry have been known. The stories are divided into three sections: The Age of Fable or Stories of Gods and Heroes (first published in 1855); The Age of Chivalry (1858), which contains King Arthur and His Knights, The Mabinogeon, and The Knights of English History; and Legends of Charlemagne or Romance of the Middle Ages (1863). For the Greek myths, Bulfinch drew on Ovid and Virgil, and for the sagas of the north, from Mallet's Northern Antiquities. He provides lively versions of the myths of Zeus and Hera, Venus and Adonis, Daphne and Apollo, and their cohorts on Mount Olympus; the love story of Pygmalion and Galatea; the legends of the Trojan War and the epic wanderings of Ulysses and Aeneas; the joys of Valhalla and the furies of Thor; and the tales of Beowulf and Robin Hood. The tales are eminently readable. As Bulfinch wrote, "Without a knowledge of mythology much of the elegant literature of our own language cannot be understood and appreciated. . . . Our book is an attempt to solve this problem, by telling the stories of mythology in such a manner as to make them a source of amusement."… (més)
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Los estadounidenses siempre sintieron orgullo de su herencia europea, y una muestra de este legado es el caso de Tomás Bulfinch y su "mitología". El padre de Bulfinch había sido un famoso arquitecto, que diseñó parte del capitolio de Washington D. C. y el Palacio del Estado de Massachussetts en Boston. Así y todo, no eran de las familias más ricas, y Tomás encontró un empleo en el Banco de Comerciantes de Boston, que le sirvió para poder autopublicar sus obras con el dinero que ganaba. Esta "Mitología" es su obra más célebre, y en ella transcribe toda la mitología, tanto griega y latina como nórdica, arturiana o carolingia, de una manera compendiada y fácil de manejar, de modo que su texto llegó a usarse durante más de siglo y medio como obra de consulta no sólo para los legos en la materia que en algún momento necesitaran iniciarse en el tema, sino que se proveyó con ella a las instituciones de enseñanza para ser utilizada como lectura por los alumnos. De ahí que su obra llegó a ser muy influyente en la literatura americana del siglo XIX y XX, ya que muchos autores posteriores bebieron de ella. ( )
  Eucalafio | Nov 14, 2020 |
If anyone thinks this is a completely comprehensive look at the mythos of the Greeks, the Norse, the Celtic, the Arthurian, the Crusades, or the Middle Ages, then you're part-way correct. It is pretty comprehensive. At least by my eye. But it's more comprehensive for the Greeks, the Arthurian legends, and the time of Charlemagne than anything else.

In fact, other than the quick and dirty tellings of the the Greek gods and heroes, with christian sensibilities intact and morals gently glossing over the good stuff, the rest of the book is pretty much knights, knights, knights, knights, knights, knights, and a few more knights for good measure.

Do you like chivalry? MUST LOVE CHIVALRY.

Don't get me wrong, I've read my fair share of all the Arthurian stuff and I can't find fault with what I've read here. It matches what I've read in Mallory and other sources. The Crusades, though, well I only knew a couple of tales so this was pretty interesting, assuming that I didn't get bored out of my skull by all the grand head-bashings and the fighting of the Saracens or their own allies. Honestly, I read all of this knight stuff because I've already read a lot of this knight stuff and so I can fill out what I already know, but reading this is like taking a crash course in learning yet more about a sub-genre that I never really *cared* for to begin with, except in how it informed and influenced all the greats that I *did* care for.

You know, like seeing how GRRM cribbed this or how Tolkien cribbed that.

Still. I did read all the volumes of [b:The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire Volume I|377965|The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire Volume I|Edward Gibbon|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1352548717s/377965.jpg|14550831], so it *is* very interesting to see the crusades from the bright and shiny PoV all turned into myth instead of the grand mistake that we all know and ... um... is love too ironic a term? Will people get that I'm being completely sarcastic? Ahem. Maybe.

Still, when it came down to the parts that I was most interested in, such as the Greeks and the Norse and the Celtic, I was rather disappointed that they didn't get so much embellishment and detailed time in the page. I'll probably have to go somewhere else for the Nordic and the Celtic stuff, because it just felt like it was kinda... fast. Glossed. Big Bullet Points. They certainly didn't get much love in comparison to all the knight-shit. I mean... the grand romantic chivalry that all the men and women still swoon to.

This was a huge book, btw. Did you know that the Glossary was almost a few hundred pages? Yup. Impressive, right? Total disclosure: I skipped that. If I want to later look up a name, I'll hit up wikipedia.

:) ( )
  bradleyhorner | Jun 1, 2020 |
Fascinating account of myths and legends. I especially liked the ones that had Charlemagne's Paladins in them, but a lot of the stories are really crazy. For instance, Orlando falls in love with some woman, but she grows to scorn him because of this convenient fountain enchanted by Merlin that causes you to hate the people you see.

The Greco-Roman stories are great classics, including Phaeton and all those other stories of the follies and silliness of the gods. Then it has the Arthurian Legends which are also quite good.

All in all this book is excellent and should be read by people that like stories. ( )
  Floyd3345 | Jun 15, 2019 |
This is a highly comprehensive book, so it's rather long, and took me quite some time to read it. It was great to see so many familiar names and tales presented in their original context. I'm not sure how much of it I really absorbed, but it's a great resource for anyone interested in mythology. ( )
  AngelaJMaher | Jun 18, 2018 |
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Nom de l'autorCàrrecTipus d'autorObra?Estat
Thomas Bulfinchautor primaritotes les edicionscalculat
Blaisdell, ElinoreIl·lustradorautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Graves, RobertPròlegautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Martin, Richard P.Editorautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Moore, SabraIl·lustradorautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
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If no other knowledge deserves to be called useful but that which helps to enlarge our possessions or to raise our station in society, then mythology has no claim to the appellation. (Preface)
The religions of ancient Greece and Rome are extinct. (Chapter One)
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Wikipedia en anglès (2)

For almost a century and a half, Bulfinch's Mythology has been the text by which the great tales of the gods and goddesses, Greek and Roman antiquity; Scandinavian, Celtic, and Oriental fables and myths; and the age of chivalry have been known. The stories are divided into three sections: The Age of Fable or Stories of Gods and Heroes (first published in 1855); The Age of Chivalry (1858), which contains King Arthur and His Knights, The Mabinogeon, and The Knights of English History; and Legends of Charlemagne or Romance of the Middle Ages (1863). For the Greek myths, Bulfinch drew on Ovid and Virgil, and for the sagas of the north, from Mallet's Northern Antiquities. He provides lively versions of the myths of Zeus and Hera, Venus and Adonis, Daphne and Apollo, and their cohorts on Mount Olympus; the love story of Pygmalion and Galatea; the legends of the Trojan War and the epic wanderings of Ulysses and Aeneas; the joys of Valhalla and the furies of Thor; and the tales of Beowulf and Robin Hood. The tales are eminently readable. As Bulfinch wrote, "Without a knowledge of mythology much of the elegant literature of our own language cannot be understood and appreciated. . . . Our book is an attempt to solve this problem, by telling the stories of mythology in such a manner as to make them a source of amusement."

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