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By C. S. Lewis

Why will we learn literature and the way will we pass judgement on it? C. S. Lewis's classic An test in Criticism springs from the conviction that literature exists for the enjoyment of the reader and that books will be judged by way of the type of examining they invite. He argues that "good reading," like ethical motion or non secular event, consists of give up to the paintings in hand and a strategy of coming into absolutely into the critiques of others: "in examining nice literature I develop into one thousand males and but stay myself."

Crucial to his inspiration of judging literature is a dedication to pushing aside expectancies and values extraneous to the paintings, in an effort to strategy it with an open brain. Amid the complicated welter of present severe theories, C. S. Lewis's knowledge is valuably down-to-earth, fresh and stimulating within the questions it increases in regards to the event of analyzing.

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But notwithstanding its ideological agendas, contemporary ethnology has produced some excellent scientific results. Classic ethnographies of the nineteenth century saw myth basically as a naive prescientific and perhaps even anti-scientific means of explaining the world and satisfying the curiosity of primitive man, who was oppressed by the forces of nature and was unsophisticated because of his limited experience. New approaches to myth that were sometimes one dimensional Copyrighted Material Modern Theories of Myth 19 but generally more fruitful than their predecessors were already being mapped out at the beginning of the twentieth century by Franz Boas, James Frazer, and Emile Durkheim.

Mythology is the world and, in a manner of speaking, the only soil in which artistic creations can grow and flourish. Only within the limits of that world is it possible to have the well-defined and stable images by which it is possible to reflect eternal concepts. Because poetry is the expressive principle of matter such as the art of form in its most restricted meaning, mythology is absolute poetry, or, perhaps, spontaneous poetry. 17 Schelling places the accent on the aesthetic and spontaneous aspect of myth and sees in mythology the “primordial matter from which everything is derived,” a “world of primary images”—that is, the primordial element, base, and paradigm of all poetry and art.

The real character of myth can perhaps be traced to events in some mythical prehistoric past, but the psychological reality of myths for primitives is maintained when myths are reproduced in rituals to which are attached magical significance. Malinowski makes a strong case for tracing myth to magic and ritual, and his clearly articulated view of the function of myth in primitive societies is still relevant today. T. 61 Preuss argues that myths are indispensable for instituting and later maintaining social and cosmic order.

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