This is an eclectically organized analysis of myths from around the world, focusing on patterns which come up in all myths, regardless of location. Voth speaks about creation myths, tricksters, heroes and heroines, destruction myths, and how we can look at all these patterns to see some basic truths about ourselves as humans.
I learned a great deal from this series of lectures, though it left me feeling a bit frustrated. Voth, by focusing on the analytical side and on the patterns of myth, did not have time to tell the myths in their entirety. As such, I am ready to devour books upon books telling the actual stories that he merely touched upon.
I definitely do recommend this course for anyone who knows little of world mythology and is curious to learn more, or wants some direction to go for their research.
I listened to this as a part of the Crash Courses Mythology thing. At first I thought it would be a nice summarization of the things I learned from the other courses. However, it derails so completely from Classic Myth and World Myths that I am uncertain where Professor Fears gets his information from.
At first Professor Fears speaks at length about the Iliad and its status as a Great Book and the higher knowledge we receive from reading it. For instance, he claims that one of its major lessons is how terrible hubris is - thinking you know better than you actually do, and acting accordingly. He also says that the Iliad contains a "historical kernal of truth" - this will be an ongoing pattern.
Later he goes in some detail about a few other myths like Gilgamesh, but about halfway through the series he stops talking about ancient myths and begins talking about actual historical figures like Alexander the Great and Napoleon. The link between mythological truths and historical facts weakens until the professor is simply lecturing about the history of the United States without mentioning any mythology or stories at all.
One thing in particular that bothered me was that he makes a point of putting his personal views into the lectures which have very little bearing on the overall lesson. For instance, he claims that American culture will never die (in the form of rock and roll and McDonalds), and refers to any mention of Christianity as "right" and any mention of previous religions as "what they believed". I felt this glorification of his personal beliefs got in the way of the actual lessons, and made it more difficult to see what he was actually trying to teach.
Overall, I do not recommend this series if you are looking for a good introduction into mythology.
I adored this book. It is definitely what I would consider a thriller or suspense, keeping you on the edge of your seat and unable to stop listening all the way through. At one point, I chose to listen before bed, but I couldn't sleep because I was so nervous for the characters. The suspense really builds up as they go through exploring the apartment building, and things just get stranger and stranger as they good.
This was an amazing read, and I highly recommend it to anyone who likes a good mystery!
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