A New Symposium
Edited by Gregory Schrempp and William Hansen
Distribution: World
Publication date: 10/8/2002
ISBN: 978-0-253-10943-9
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Myth: A New Symposium offers a broad-based assessment of the present state of myth study. It was inspired by a revisiting of the influential mid-century work Myth: A Symposium (edited by Thomas Sebeok). A systematic introduction and 15 contributions from a wide spectrum of disciplines offer a range of views on past myth study and suggest directions for the future. Contributors blend theoretical analysis with richly documented historical, ethnographic, and literary illustrations and examples drawn from Native American, classical, medieval, and modern sources.

Author Bio

Gregory Schrempp is Associate Professor of Folklore and Ethnomusicology and Co-director of the Program in Mythology Studies at Indiana University, Bloomington.

William Hansen is Professor and Chair of Classical Studies, Professor of Folklore, and Co-director of the Program in Mythology Studies at Indiana University, Bloomington.


"Almost 50 years ago, Myth: A Symposium, ed. by Thomas Seboek (1955), offered scholars from many fields the opportunity to contemplate—in print—varying, often dissenting, assessments of the nature and meaning of myth across cultures. Schrempp and Hansen's sequel, comprising essays derived from a conference titled The Symposium on Myth, is larger than the earlier collection and includes both essays referring to significant contributions to the earlier volume and narrowly focused essays on particular aspects of myth (e.g., its visual representation in the culture of Rome preserved by the catastrophic eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 CE). The range of contributions testifies to the complexity of myth as defined and redefined by scholars across many disciplines. Indeed, the opening essays (one each by Hansen and John McDowell) consider the difficulties and challenges posed when luminaries in the field attempt to define, classify, and analyze myth. McDowell's essay in particular provides entry for both scholars and interested lay readers. Robert Ivie's contribution, Distempered Demos: Myth, Metaphor, and US Political Culture, expands the borders of the study of myth, identifying competing and contradictory myths at the heart of the political divide between James Madison's vision of democracy and Thomas Jefferson's. Summing Up: Recommended. Graduate and research collections; large public libraries." —R. Nadelhaft, emerita, University of Maine , 2003may CHOICE

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Table of Contents


Introduction. Gregory Schrempp

I. Revisiting Myth: A Symposium
1. Meanings and Boundaries: Reflections on Thompson's "Myth and Folktales." William Hansen
2. From Expressive Language to Mythemes: Meaning in Mythic Narratives. John H. McDowell
3. David Bidney and the People of Truth. Gregory Schrempp

II. Myth & Ethnography
4. Germans and Indians in South America: Ethnography and the Idea of Text. Lúcia Sá
5. "Made from Bone": Trickster Narratives, Musicality, and Social Constructions of History in the Venezuelan Amazon. Jonathan D. Hill
6. Native American Reassessment and Reinterpretation of Myths. Barre Toelken

III. Myth & Historical Texts
7. Myth Read as History: Odin in Snorri Sturluson's Ynglinga saga. John Lindow
8. Myth and Legendum in Medieval and Modern Ireland. Joseph Falaky Nagy
9. The West and the People with Myth. Gordon Brotherston

IV. Myth & the Modern World
10. Myths of the Rain Forest/The Rain Forest as Myth. Candace Slater
11. Distempered Demos: Myth, Metaphor, and U.S. Political Culture. Robert L. Ivie

V. Myth & Visual Art
12. Imitation or Reconstruction: How Did Roman Viewers Experience Mythological Painting? Eleanor Winsor Leach
13. Mud and Mythic Vision: Hindu Sculpture in Modern Bangladesh. Henry Glassie

VI. Myth as Concept
14. Myth in Historical Perspective: The Case of Pagan Deities in the Anglo-Saxon Royal Genealogies. R. D. Fulk
15. Can Myth Be Saved? Gregory Nagy