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Robert Graves and the Hebrew myths : a…

Robert Graves and the Hebrew myths : a collaboration

by Raphael Patai

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Book description

Robert Graves and the Hebrew Myths is a most unusual record of the friendship and collaboration between authors Rohert Graves and Raphael Patai, and of the highlights of the most productive period in their lives.

The book is a publication in the Jewish Folklore and Anthropology Series.

This book tells the story of the thirty-year friendship between Robert Graves and Raphael Patai, and in particular, the story of the literary collaboration that culminated in their joint authorship of the Hebrew Myths: The Book of Genesis.

The friendship between Graves and Patai began in 1947 when Graves, having read Patai's book Man and Temple, wrote him a "fan letter" full of remarkable scholarly comments and reflections. It was the beginning of an exchange of letters between the two authors that led to their participation in each other's books and studies, joint public appearances in lectures and interviews, mutual visits, and a lasting friendship.

In addition to the nearly two hundred letters they exchanged that are published here for the first time, the book contains the full recorded texts of a long conversation between them about the Hebrew myths, a joint lecture in New York City, and a radio interview. It also includes the lecture Graves gave to the London Hillel Foundation on "Hebrew and European Myths Contrasted," and Patai's long essay on "Myth and Hebrew Myth," originally planned as an introduction to the Hebrew Myths but not published until now. The book discusses other writings produced by Graves and Patai and the reaction of the scholarly and literary world to their joint work and their major separate publications. Patai also allows a glimpse into the private lives of the two authors, including their struggles and successes, their frustrations and achievements.

Robert Graves and the Hebrew Myths gives rare insight into the lengthy process of gestation that preceded the writing of the Hebrew Myths; the exchanges that led to the reconciliation of the two authors' different views and approaches; the meticulous care they invested in its planning, construction, and execution; and the production of the terse and dramatic presentation that characterizes the book. This volume is a unique account of a difficult but successful collaboration between two writers of very different characters, orientations, and talents.

Raphael Patai is an anthropologist, historian, and biblical scholar of international reputation. His scholarly specialization is in the anthropology of the ancient Near East, the modern Middle East, Israel, and the Jews. He is the author of more than thirty books, including The Arab Mind, The Jewish Mind, On Jewish Folklore, and The Seed of Abraham.
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