By Eleazar M. Meletinsky
'Serious scholars will savour Meletinsky's wealthy and intricate ebook. the hole part on my own is efficacious for its erudite exam of recent concept approximately fable, with precise consciousness to Levi-Strauss and the structuralists. Meletinsky grasps the necessities of theories he discusses and makes transparent differences among them hugely instructed for higher department undergraduates, graduate scholars and teachers/scholars of myth.' - selection
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Additional info for The Poetics of Myth
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.