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Bulfinch's Mythology: The Age of Fable by…

Bulfinch's Mythology: The Age of Fable (1855)

by Thomas Bulfinch, Federico Castellon (Illustrator)

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Bulfinch's Mythology (1)

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Showing 1-5 of 15 (next | show all)
Very good summary of a lot of mythology. I would recommend it for anyone who likes mythology or wants a good overview. ( )
  Heather.Dennis | Nov 29, 2017 |
Reading Thomas Bulfinch's 'The Age of Fable' is about as much fun as trying to read an encyclopedia, by shoving pages up your bottom, whilst eating a bowl of sprouts. You know that this summary of mythology is meant to be good for you, much like sprouts and encyclopedias, but there has to be a better way. It covers mostly Greek and Roman myths, with a little Norse mythology thrown in for good measure, and would make a reasonable reference for Classics students. Just don't attempt to digest the whole thing in one sitting. ( )
  graffiti.living | Oct 22, 2017 |
Owned by Stephen Vincent Benet ( )
  andalusiac | Mar 6, 2017 |
No matter what other versions of the Greek myths you've read, there's a certain quaint charm to Bullfinch's take on the stories. Written in the 1850s, the book opens with a forward in which Bullfinch attempts to argue the value of mythology. He notes that without some background in mythology, the allusions of the famous poets will simply whizz over a reader's head, and also adds that despite its pagan beginnings, mythology contains pure and valuable moral lessons. He then proceeds to retell some of the most famous Greek stories, noting and laboriously explaining various later poetical allusions to each tale from writers such as Milton, Keats, Shakespeare, and more.

There's something rather precious about the Victorian writer's obvious discomfort with certain aspects of the myths. For one thing, Bullfinch has to work quite hard to extract his moral lessons; no matter how much you bowdlerize them, the major aesop of most Greek myths is, let's be honest, that you'd better "put out" whenever requested or someone is going to turn you into a tree. I also rather admire the complex feats of literary doublespeak that Bullfinch employs when handling the stories involving same-sex love; he does his best to either portray such relationships as (very) close "friendships" or simply obfuscates the pronouns. I had to laugh at his version of Sappho, as he tells the entire story without once revealing the gender of her lover.

I also found his emphasis rather interesting. The book is supposed to be a collection of myths and fables from around the world, yet almost the book focuses on Greek mythology (or, I suppose, Roman myths, as Bullfinch uses all the Roman names. Personally, I found that rather irritating as I had to keep translating them in my head.) After 35 chapters of Greek mythology, Bullfinch decides on a brief world tour--one chapter on Egyptian mythology, one chapter on "Eastern" mythology, three chapters on Norse mythology, and one chapter for the Celts. This actually can be seen as emblematic of the era; during Bullfinch's time, the Romans were venerated as having created a Utopian society that was lost to the dark ages, and--at least, according to the British--regained by Victoria's imperialistic regime. The fascination with Romans is then something of a self-congratulatory belief that the Victorian world recreated the splendour of the ancients.

Overall, Bullfinch's book exemplifies the Victorian attempt to both venerate and sterilize ancient folklore. Although perhaps not precisely true to their originals, I think Bullfinch's stories have a charm all their own. ( )
  page.fault | Sep 21, 2013 |
The author was a well-educated and underemployed bank clerk in Boston who used his spare time to research classical mythology. Thomas Bulfinch was born in 1796, one of three sons of the great Unitarian architect. But unlike his two successful brothers, Thomas only failed in several businesses. At age 41, taking a modest clerical job, he began to write what became the definitive and important series of works on mythology, fables and legends. To this day, Bulfinch supersedes in quality and readership much of the scholastic materials written by academicians.

This three-volume collection presents Bulfinch's studies first published in one combined volume in 1881: The Age of Fable presents the Greek and Roman myths of the classical period. The Age of Chivalry is a retelling of the legends of King Arthur, Robin Hood, and sundry British/Celtic folk tales. The third part, the Legends of Charlemagne, recounts tales drawn from France, Germany, and Africa. ( )
  keylawk | Jul 17, 2013 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Thomas Bulfinchprimary authorall editionscalculated
Castellon, FedericoIllustratormain authorall editionsconfirmed
Berseth, JohnEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Negri, PaulGeneral editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Scott, J. LoughranEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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If no other knowledge deserves to be called useful but that which helps to enlarge our possessions or to raise our station in society, then mythology has no claim to the appellation. (Preface)
The religions of ancient Greece and Rome are extinct.
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Written in 1859, this book is a classic! Covers Greek and Roman mythology.
This is a reproduction of a book published before 1923. This book may have occasional imperfections such as missing or blurred pages, poor pictures, errant marks, etc. that were either part of the original artifact, or were introduced by the scanning process. We believe this work is culturally important, and despite the imperfections, have elected to bring it back into print as part of our continuing commitment to the preservation of printed works worldwide. We appreciate your understanding of the imperfections in the preservation process, and hope you enjoy this valuable book.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0486411079, Paperback)

Vivid, classic retellings of the myths of Greece and Rome, along with stories of the Norse gods and heroes. Zeus and Hera, Apollo, Jason and the golden fleece, the wanderings of Ulysses and Aeneas, the deeds of Thor, many more seminal stories underlying Western culture.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:19:16 -0400)

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Vivid, classic retellings of the myths of Greece and Rome, along with stories of the Norse gods and heroes. Zeus and Hera, Apollo, Jason and the golden fleece, the wanderings of Ulysses and Aeneas, the deeds of Thor, many more seminal stories underlying Western culture.… (more)

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Recorded Books

2 editions of this book were published by Recorded Books.

Editions: 1449871216, 1449871224

Tantor Media

An edition of this book was published by Tantor Media.

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