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Archive for the ‘Introduction’ Category

This blog is a tribute to the lasting allure of ancient heroic tales.  Although such epics as “The Iliad” and “The Odyssey” first appeared more than two thousand years ago, these stories are so captivating that they remain well-known today.  For me, the lifelong literary romance began when my mother purchased a copy of “D’Aulaires Greek Myths” for me when I was about ten years old; the Greek gods and their adventures held me spellbound.  I have been a fan of  mythology ever since (and I still have that book).

Why, one might wonder, are these tales and others like them so durable?  I believe that several things are true:  these are great, ripping yarns, they deal with issues of human nature that are still present, and the Heroic Journey is a realistic metaphor for life.  Epic stories of the ancient world capture the imagination, and I offer that these tales speak to people because of the simple truths within them: greed versus generosity, loyalty versus betrayal, life versus death.

Now, as in the ancient world, myths and epics are superb teaching tools  cleverly stashed in  an often-swashbuckling  package.  Perhaps this is the literary equivalent of  hiding one’s spinach in puff pastry: it’s mighty tasty, and you still get your dark leafy greens.

My work here will be to focus on the ways that ancient tales still benefit modern society.  I am a devotee of the work of Joseph Campbell (“The Hero with a Thousand Faces”), Caroline Myss, Jean Houston (“The Hero and the Goddess”), and Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estes (“Women Who Run with the Wolves”).  Each of these authors has illustrated in his or her particular way how useful the archetypes of  mythology, folk stories, and epic poems are.   Their work and the heroic legends have entranced me for years.  As homage to all of them, and to the ancient tale-tellers who began the saga, I bring you this blog; I hope that you find the ideas here useful, thought-provoking, and fun.   Whether you are a student, an educator, an observer of human nature, or a literature buff, my goal is to inform and entertain you. If I am successful, you will savor these leafy greens for the brain!

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