Useful Material on Interpreting Myths

The history of the interpretation of myth is about as varied as myth itself.  As we delve into Salley Vickers’ Where Three Roads Meet you may want to learn more about how myth was interpreted.  After all, one of the two voices in Where Three Roads Meet is Sigmund Freud, who famously interpreted the myth of Oedipus as being about childhood sexual desires, frustrations, and jealousies.

This first link provides a brilliant and succinct overview of how myth has been interpreted in each period from ancient Greece down to the present.  It includes everyone from Xenophanes of Colophon, Anaxagoras, Socrates and Plato, to Sigmund Freud, Carl Jung, and Claude Lévi-Strauss.

Where the first link organizes various approaches to myth chronologically from oldest to more recent, this link connects to a page that divides interpretations up according to guiding principles (i.e. “as disguised history”; “as pre-scientific explanation” etc).

 

Author: mdamey

I am an English professor with expertise in medieval and modern retellings of the stories of King Arthur. I've taught high school and university courses over a a range of topics including Utopian and Dystopian fiction, Harry Potter, Science Fiction and Fantasy literature.

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