Gold-guarding griffins, Cyclopes, killer lakes, man-eating birds, and "fire devils" from the sky—such wonders have long been dismissed as fictional. Now, thanks to the richly interdisciplinary field of geomythology, researchers are taking a second look. It turns out that these and similar tales, which originated in pre-literate societies, contain surprisingly accurate, pre-scientific intuitions about startling or catastrophic earth-based phenomena such as volcanoes, earthquakes, tsunamis, and the unearthing of bizarre animal bones. Geomythology: How Common Stories Reflect Earth Events provides an accessible, engaging overview of this hybrid discipline. The introductory chapter surveys geomythology’s remarkable history and its core concepts, while the second and third chapters analyze the geomythical resonances of universal earth tales about dragons and giants. Chapter 4 narrows the focus to regional stories and discusses the ways these and other myths have influenced legends about griffins, Cyclopes, and other iconic creatures. The final chapter considers future avenues of research in geomythology, including geohazard management, geomythology databases, geomythical "cold cases," and ways the discipline might eventually set, rather than merely support, research agendas in science. Thus, the book constitutes a valuable asset for scientists and lay readers alike, particularly in a time of growing interest in monsters, massive climate change, and natural disasters.
Table of Contents
Introduction: What is Geomythology?
1 Universal Geomyths, Part I
2 Universal Geomyths, Part II
3 Regional Geomyths
4 The Futures of Geomythology
Timothy J. Burbery received his Ph.D. in English, English Renaissance Literature, from Stony Brook University, in 1997. He is currently Professor of English at Marshall University, where he teaches, among other subjects, Shakespeare, scientific and technical writing, science fiction, and ecocriticism/literary theory.