Myth in Human History : The Great Courses: Western Literature

  • by The Great Courses
  • Narrated by Professor Grant L. Voth
  • Series: The Great Courses: Western Literature
  • 18 hrs and 27 mins
  • Lecture

Publisher's Summary

Myths provide the keys to truly grasping the ways that principles, rituals, codes, and taboos are woven into the fabric of a particular society or civilization.
It's through myths that we can answer these and other fundamental questions: How was the universe created, and why? What is the purpose of evil? Why is society organized the way it is? How did natural features like rivers, mountains, and oceans emerge?
This entertaining and illuminating course plunges you into the world's greatest myths. Taking you from ancient Greece and Japan to North America and Africa to New Zealand and Great Britain, these 36 lectures reveal mythology's profound importance in shaping nearly every aspect of culture. You'll also discover the hidden connections between them - a comparative approach that emphasizes the universality of myths across cultures.
Along with the stories themselves, you'll encounter fascinating characters, including Herakles, the ancient Greek hero whose life illustrates the idea that all heroic stories have a similar structure; Loki, the shape-shifting trickster who introduces the concept of time into the Norse realm of Asgard; and King Arthur, the Celtic lord and founder of the Knights of the Round Table.
Myths, according to Professor Voth, are "gifts from the ancestors to be cherished." His enchanting lectures are the perfect way for you to celebrate these cherished gifts, inviting you to develop your own interpretations of these age-old tales, as well as to ponder the role that myths - both ancient and everyday - play in your own life.
PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your My Library section along with the audio.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Really easy way to learn!

What did you like best about this story?

It's not a story, but a series of lectures about how humans have used myths to explain things they couldn't understand. You have to engage brain in order to appreciate it, but it is well worth the effort.


What about Professor Grant L. Voth’s performance did you like?

He has a lively style and is a good, listenable lecturer.


Any additional comments?

The only reason it didn't get full marks was that the man who introduces each lecture shouts in the most annoying way!!

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- Exidia

A very knowledgeable and enthusiastic lecturer who might be able to structure this better.

The thematic structure makes this course unnecessarily complex and difficult to follow.

I would have preferred it if the course covered all of the themes upfront and in detail and then when through each set of myths or cultures as a collective. This would give the listener more time to become familiar with the characters and more cultural specific elements of each myth or set of myths. Of course while going through each "set" of myths by region or culture the lecturer could make reference to the themes (or analytical tools) referred to at the beginning.

Unfortunately of the 25 or so Great Courses that I have completely (several more than once) this is the most difficult to follow, not because of its content, but because of its structure.
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- Diogenes

Book Details

  • Release Date: 08-07-2013
  • Publisher: The Great Courses