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About the Author


Works by Edmund Fuller

Bulfinch's Mythology (A Modern Abridgement by Edmund Fuller) (1967) — abridged by — 740 copies, 4 reviews
Greek Lives (1959) — Editor — 645 copies, 2 reviews
Lives of the Noble Romans (0100) — Editor — 227 copies, 3 reviews
2500 Anecdotes for All Occasions (1942) 187 copies, 4 reviews
Myth, Allegory, and Gospel (1974) 154 copies
Balzac: Five Stories (1960) — Editor — 74 copies
Voltaire (1959) — Editor; Editor — 36 copies
Thesaurus of Epigrams (1943) 24 copies
Four American Novels (1959) — Editor — 21 copies
Mark Twain : A Laurel Reader (1958) — Editor — 21 copies
Affirmations of God and man (1967) 17 copies
Law in Action: An Anthology of the Law in Literature (1947) — Editor; Editor — 13 copies
Books with men behind them (1962) 11 copies
The Brothers Karamazov (1956) 10 copies
Four Novels for Appreciation (1960) — Editor — 9 copies
Thesaurus of Quotations (1941) 7 copies
Introduction to the Essay (1980) 5 copies
John Milton. (1967) 4 copies
Four Novels for Adventure (1960) — Editor — 3 copies
The Corridor (1965) 3 copies
Four American Biographies (1961) 2 copies
Flight 1 copy
Raintree County (1957) 1 copy
Vanity Fair 1 copy

Associated Works

The Merchant of Venice (1600) — Editor, some editions — 11,562 copies, 112 reviews
Understanding The Lord of the Rings: The Best of Tolkien Criticism (2004) — Contributor — 210 copies, 2 reviews
The showing forth of Christ; sermons (1630) — Editor, some editions — 83 copies, 2 reviews
Journey into the self, being the letters, papers & journals of Leo Stein (1950) — Editor, some editions — 16 copies
Churches on the Wrong Road (1986) — Introduction — 11 copies


(171) 16th century (118) 17th century (50) biography (81) British (83) British literature (110) classic (295) classic literature (34) classics (397) collected works (46) comedy (149) drama (848) ebook (34) Elizabethan (61) England (38) English (91) English literature (164) fiction (586) history (146) Italy (64) Jews (39) literary criticism (56) literature (377) non-fiction (111) own (47) paperback (45) play (386) plays (482) poetry (85) read (142) reference (71) Renaissance (53) textbook (114) theatre (302) to-read (258) Tolkien (57) tragedy (45) unread (45) Venice (66) William Shakespeare (1,018)

Common Knowledge

Date of death
Wilmington, Delaware, USA
Place of death
Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA
literary critic
Kent School



I read the abridged version. I discovered that I have the hardcover full editions of both the [Bulfinch's Mythology] and [The Age of Fable]. The main differences are in "The Age of Fable". A complete section of the Welsh stories has been cut out of the abridged edition. So far, those comprise more stories of Arthur and his Knights. I haven't done a close study of the original mythology, but the man who did the abridgement said that the only thing he left out of it was some of the Victorian poetry which Bulfinch had used to show how modern folks have used the tales. He left in poetry from the more famous poets.

I enjoyed reading this tremendously. It connected many dots for me of classical readings I have done from Dante to Tolkien, and in many less famous readings as well.

I am going through my hardcover full editions and reading the bits which were missing from the abridgement. I probably won't keep the paperback, since I have the full editions, but I would recommend it to anyone who wanted a reference and didn't want to take up so much room on their shelves.
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MrsLee | 3 other reviews | Sep 1, 2023 |
This 1967 version of Thomas Bulfinch's textbooks on mythology (finished in 1863) is a chronicle of myths that have influenced Western civilization and literature for hundreds of years. It is divided into three sections: The Age of Fable, The Age of Chivalry, and The Legends of Charlemagne.

The Age of Fable takes up more than half of the book and is a great look at the myths of Greece, Rome, Scandinavia, and the British Isles. The vast majority of this section (33 out of 40 chapters) is spent on the myths of Greece and Rome. Fuller chooses to follow Bulfinch in naming the characters of the myths in their Roman names, rather than the Greek names, although translations are given. Stories included in this section include the creation of the world, Hercules, The Iliad, The Oddesy, and the Anead, as well as many Norse myths, the druids of Europe, and Beowulf. This section is easy to follow and gives insight into any myth you'd want to read about (or take inspiration from for your games, particularly from Mythic Odysseys of Theros).

The second section, The Age of Chivalry, revolves around the stories of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table. This section is where the "Abridgement" in the title starts to rear its ugly head. While not as bad as in the following section, this is where the fact that this book was originally a textbook comes out in the storytelling. Unlike the former section, where there were stories like the Iliad but quickly move on to other characters, this section is more or less about the same group of people throughout. This means that while we have these characters for a longer amount of time, we still do not get very much elaboration on their character traits outside of being told that they love people or are virtuous knights. Because we are with these characters for longer, I would expect more elaboration on them. This section also summarises Le Morte d’Arthur (1485), by Sir Thomas Malory, which is also located in the recommended reading of Appendix D of the 5e Dungeon Master's Guide (2014).

In my opinion, the last section, The Legends of Charlemagne, was the hardest to get through, even though it was only around fifty pages. Maybe this is due to the fact that it is around half the length of The Age of Chivalry, or due to the fact that Charlemagne was an actual historical figure, but this section dragged along quite a bit. It was also, especially in chapters four and five, very insistent on a mentality of "us Christians versus those Muslims," which while understandable for the time, was not exactly the most palatable depiction for me, as I am not a Christian.

All in all, this is a great reference book, but I would stick to using it as just that and not reading it cover-to-cover like I did.
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WillChildress | 3 other reviews | May 3, 2023 |
I wanted some background on key Roman figures, and reading Plutarch felt like going 'straight to the source'. This is effectively an abridgement of an abridgement from the full "Lives": only ten lives are featured, all of them Romans (there is a companion volume for Greeks). The introduction warns that even more cutting has occurred within the entries themselves (abridgement to the third degree!) Early selected entries from the Kingdom period are mythological but still informative, since these were the myths that Romans shared. I was interested in reading selections from across the Republic's span, but half of these entries are gathered at its end.

Romulus (circa 700 BC) - strong mythological tones here. Plutarch offers some alternative stories behind the roots of Rome's origin, but not one of them sounds plausibly realistic. The kidnapping and rape of the Sabine women is heinous even in Plutarch's dull telling, and their intervention in the heat of later battle has romantic overtones but a dark heart.

Numa Pompilius (753-673 BC) - in a nation irrevocably split by party lines, one party elects the next ruler for all of them from among the population of the other; that's pretty smart. They chose Numa of the Sabines to be Romulus' successor, a peace-loving, wise and noble man except for the bit where he buried vestal virgins alive if they betrayed their vows. Some good information from Plutarch here about the origin of the months' names as we know them today.

Fabius (275-203 BC) - the Roman who defeated Hannibal, which makes for an interesting biography as the clash between these two intelligent foes is described. A master of patience and of playing the long game, but perhaps not open-minded enough to allow that others could be right to take initiative when opportunity offered.

Marcellus (268-208 BC) - another Roman who fought Hannibal, as well as the imaginative defences at Syracuse as conceived by Archimedes. Admired Fabius. Seems like he was a bit of a hothead in comparison, but measured in his hotheadedness. Too bad about his fatal error.

Marcus Cato (234-149 BC) - Cato the Elder proved at Thermopolaye that he had studied his history, but he is more renowned and praised for his frugality and austerity. He rose to consul after the tail end of Hannibal's days, and then to censor, where he could bring the full power of those traits to bear. The nobility didn't like him much.

Crassus (115-53 BC) - Crassus was largely responsible for putting down Spartacus' slave rebellion. He conspired with Pompey and Caesar to extend his rule as consul, avarice blinding him to realizing he was getting played. That led to his ill-fated expedition against the Parthian Empire, a classic case of hubris.

Caesar (100-44 BC) - Caesar's political maneuvers are both complex and subtle, a bit hard to follow but largely built on his largesse among the general population. He was equally skilled if not more so at the head of an army, conquering Gaul and Britannia and then challenging Pompey. A map would have been handy to follow along with as he jumped among provinces, especially in the civil war portion. He was brilliant in a lot of respects, but he didn't know to quit while he was ahead.

Pompey (106-48 BC) - Pompey served under Sylla, was consul alongside Crassus, then he became Caesar's chief rival for control of Rome. This edition includes a note to say that it omits a large section here, jumping ahead from Pompey's last triumph to his defeat by Caesar. I'm to assume there's no benefit in reading about the missing events from Pompey's point of view?

Cicero (106-43 BC) - mediocre soldier, but a renowned orator in the courts and Senate. Plutarch is able to give instances when his rhetoric saved the day (including halting a conspiracy to destroy the Senate in Pompey's absence), but cannot always provide what he actually said; I guess Shakespeare never filled this in for us? I related to him most of the bunch and found his ending sad.

Antony (83-30 BC) - always comes across to me as a sidekick who tried to be a hero, instead of the real thing. A very flawed character who you can't even say tried his best, he was the last hope to prevent Augustus from putting a final end to the Republic. Cleopatra gets too much of the blame.
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1 vote
Cecrow | 2 other reviews | Sep 23, 2019 |
Or "Come for Alexander, stay for Alcibiades".

I wanted to better my knowledge of Alexander the Great but my copy of Herodotus's Histories was looking excessively large so when I saw "Greek Lives" for sale I snapped it up.

I wish I'd bought a "Complete Lives" instead. It's so good.

Plutarch brings the lives and times to life in an interesting way, and the translator does a very good job of making the work flow and be understandable without resorting to artificial modernising.

I could have done with some of the chapter introductions being fuller, some of them assumed knowledge I most certainly didn't have (the 4 1/2 out of 5 is because of that, Plutarch himself gets 5/5). Some of the footnotes/endnotes were a bit enigmatic too.

I think I agree with the idea put forward in the introduction that Plutarch wrote these to suggest good ways to be a public person of power, particularly if you consider the different way Cimon is treated depending on the message Plutarch is conveying in a life.

Poor Agesilaus who, after a certain point, couldn't get anything right for trying to the right thing, was completely new to me, and I learned a lot about Ancient Greece.

Definitely worth reading.
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redfiona | 1 other review | Jul 3, 2016 |


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