Mythology: The Voyage of the Hero (review)

Mythology: The Voyage of the Hero (review) Book Reviews says that the melody has always been subordinate to the words (Le chant du pain, p. 81). Many ballad studies have emphasized the way performances of ballads may take on the characteristics of ritual. The importance of this study lies in the way it relates such performances, not to the repertoire of a particular singer, but to the working environment of a series of related communities. This is not a trivial point, for Caufriez claims that the historicism of the ballads has been a resistance against dictatorship (Le chant du pain, p. 287). This exemplary study thus also has an agenda: to return to the traditional song its functional role in the community. Mythology: The Voyage of the Hero. By David Adams Leeming. (New York: Oxford University Press, 1998. Pp. xv + 272, preface, introduction, 8 illustrations, selected bibliography, index.) CYNTHEA L. AINSWORTH University of Alaska David Leeming's Mythology: The Voyage of the Hero is a collection of excerpts from world religions, literature, myth, and folklore that illustrate the points of crisis in the life of the hero, as identified by Lord Raglan. The text excerpts are set in an interpretive framework by a preface, introduction, short introductory head notes preceding each text, and brief essays closing each chapter. Eight chapters offer 122 texts organized by life crisis themes: birth, initiation, preparation, quest, death, underworld, resurrection, and ascension. In a fast-paced review of scholarship in the cross-disciplinary study of myth, Leeming's introduction provides a roadmap of landmark theories in myth ritual study. The bibliography offers ample suggestions for further reading and attests to the depth of the deceptively brief review section in the introduction. This brevity is no doubt in service of Leeming's stated wish that readers gain insight through confronting texts from or inspired by myth with minimal editorial guidance. Originally published in 1973, Voyage is now in its third edition with significant changes from its interim appearance in 1981. The bibliography has been updated and expanded to include more folklorists, and nearly every chapter has added one or more texts to include female, Asian, and Native American heroes. The second edition had appendixes on Jung and on creation and flood myths, which have been removed from this third edition and enlarged in four separate publications, all from Oxford University Press: The World of Myth (1990); A Dictionary of Creation Myths (1995); God: Myths of the Male Divine (1996); and Goddess: Myths of the Female Divine (1994). The significance of Leeming's Voyage is more than that of an anthology. Undeniably, the convenience of having these texts in one place, some of them lengthy, justifies the republication of this valuable resource in today's unfortunate trend of allowing books to fall from print. Nevertheless, the informed reader can see the application of theory in the selection of texts and hear the cross-disciplinary theoretical debates in the juxtaposition of texts. Some of those debates are taken up in the concluding essays. Leeming's avoidance of overinterpretation anticipates future development in myth theory. Voyage will remain useful to students of mythology regardless of fluctuating interpretations of the lessons behind heroes, their lives, and their deeds. Making War, Not Love: Gender and Sexuality in Russian Humor. By Emil A. Draitser. (New York: St. Martin's Press, 1999. Pp. viii + 308, introduction, notes, index.) ELIZABETH CURRANS University of California, Santa Barbara Making War, Not Love is an excellent resource for raunchy Russian humor. In his latest exploration of jokelore in Russia, Emil Draitser compiles an array of jokes and chastushkas (rural folk rhymes often sung and accompanied by an accordion or a balalaika) about gender and sexuality told primarily by and for men. The book is a study of the construction of masculinity in Russian humor and the role of sexuality in that construction. In order to illustrate these functions of wit, Draitser explores cultural standards of physical attractiveness and sexual behavior for men and women, as well as the themes of courtship, love, abuse, rape, marriage, impotence, and adultery. The examples http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Journal of American Folklore American Folklore Society

Mythology: The Voyage of the Hero (review)

Journal of American Folklore, Volume 115 (455) – Jan 1, 2002

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Publisher
American Folklore Society
Copyright
Copyright © 2002 by the American Folklore Society.
ISSN
1535-1882
Publisher site
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Abstract

Book Reviews says that the melody has always been subordinate to the words (Le chant du pain, p. 81). Many ballad studies have emphasized the way performances of ballads may take on the characteristics of ritual. The importance of this study lies in the way it relates such performances, not to the repertoire of a particular singer, but to the working environment of a series of related communities. This is not a trivial point, for Caufriez claims that the historicism of the ballads has been a resistance against dictatorship (Le chant du pain, p. 287). This exemplary study thus also has an agenda: to return to the traditional song its functional role in the community. Mythology: The Voyage of the Hero. By David Adams Leeming. (New York: Oxford University Press, 1998. Pp. xv + 272, preface, introduction, 8 illustrations, selected bibliography, index.) CYNTHEA L. AINSWORTH University of Alaska David Leeming's Mythology: The Voyage of the Hero is a collection of excerpts from world religions, literature, myth, and folklore that illustrate the points of crisis in the life of the hero, as identified by Lord Raglan. The text excerpts are set in an interpretive framework by a preface, introduction, short introductory head notes preceding each text, and brief essays closing each chapter. Eight chapters offer 122 texts organized by life crisis themes: birth, initiation, preparation, quest, death, underworld, resurrection, and ascension. In a fast-paced review of scholarship in the cross-disciplinary study of myth, Leeming's introduction provides a roadmap of landmark theories in myth ritual study. The bibliography offers ample suggestions for further reading and attests to the depth of the deceptively brief review section in the introduction. This brevity is no doubt in service of Leeming's stated wish that readers gain insight through confronting texts from or inspired by myth with minimal editorial guidance. Originally published in 1973, Voyage is now in its third edition with significant changes from its interim appearance in 1981. The bibliography has been updated and expanded to include more folklorists, and nearly every chapter has added one or more texts to include female, Asian, and Native American heroes. The second edition had appendixes on Jung and on creation and flood myths, which have been removed from this third edition and enlarged in four separate publications, all from Oxford University Press: The World of Myth (1990); A Dictionary of Creation Myths (1995); God: Myths of the Male Divine (1996); and Goddess: Myths of the Female Divine (1994). The significance of Leeming's Voyage is more than that of an anthology. Undeniably, the convenience of having these texts in one place, some of them lengthy, justifies the republication of this valuable resource in today's unfortunate trend of allowing books to fall from print. Nevertheless, the informed reader can see the application of theory in the selection of texts and hear the cross-disciplinary theoretical debates in the juxtaposition of texts. Some of those debates are taken up in the concluding essays. Leeming's avoidance of overinterpretation anticipates future development in myth theory. Voyage will remain useful to students of mythology regardless of fluctuating interpretations of the lessons behind heroes, their lives, and their deeds. Making War, Not Love: Gender and Sexuality in Russian Humor. By Emil A. Draitser. (New York: St. Martin's Press, 1999. Pp. viii + 308, introduction, notes, index.) ELIZABETH CURRANS University of California, Santa Barbara Making War, Not Love is an excellent resource for raunchy Russian humor. In his latest exploration of jokelore in Russia, Emil Draitser compiles an array of jokes and chastushkas (rural folk rhymes often sung and accompanied by an accordion or a balalaika) about gender and sexuality told primarily by and for men. The book is a study of the construction of masculinity in Russian humor and the role of sexuality in that construction. In order to illustrate these functions of wit, Draitser explores cultural standards of physical attractiveness and sexual behavior for men and women, as well as the themes of courtship, love, abuse, rape, marriage, impotence, and adultery. The examples

Journal

Journal of American FolkloreAmerican Folklore Society

Published: Jan 1, 2002

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