What makes something mythic? What do mythic events and narratives have to do with us? In Mythology, David Leeming offers an unusual and effective approach to the subject of mythology by stressing universal themes through myths of many cultures. This anthology collects a wide array of narrative texts from the Bible to English literature to interpretations by Joseph Campbell, C.G. Jung, and others, which illustrate how myths serve whole societies in our universal search for meaning.
Leeming illustrates the various stages or rites of passage of the mythic universal hero, from birth to childhood, through trial and quest, death, descent, rebirth, and ascension. The arrangement of texts by themes such as "Childhood, Initiation and Divine Signs," "The Descent to the Underworld," and "Resurrection and Rebirth" strip mythic characters of their many national and cultural "masks" to reveal their archetypal aspects. Real figures, including Jesus and Mohammed, are also included underlining the theory that myths are real and can be applied to real life. This edition is updated to include additional heroine myths, as well as Navajo, Indonesian, Indian, Chinese, and African tales.