1st Edition


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ISBN 9780415134941
Published September 11, 1997 by Routledge
236 Pages

USD $22.95

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Book Description

Laurence Coupe offers students a crucial overview of the evolution of 'myth', from the ancient Greek definitions to those of a range of contemporary thinkers. This introductory volume:

  • provides an introduction to both the theory of myth and the making of myth
  • explores the uses made of the term 'myth' within the fields of literary criticism, anthropology, cultural studies, feminism, Marxism and psychoanalysis
  • discusses the association between modernism, postmodernism, myth and history
  • familiarises the reader with themes such as the dying god, the quest for the grail, the relation between 'chaos' and 'cosmos', and the vision of the end of time
  • illustrates the relation between myth, culture and literature with discussions of poetry, fiction, film and popular song.

Table of Contents

Introduction: Perfection, Paradigm, Possibility, The Myth of Mythlessness  Part I: Reading Myth  1. Order, Dying Gods, Words and the Word, The Mythical Method  2. Chaos, The Comic Vision, Singer as Shaman, The Sacred and the Profane, The Heart-of-Darkness Trip  3. Ends, The Circuitous Quest, The Rhetoric of Revelation, Apocalypse without Apocalypse Part II: Mythic Reading  4. Realism and Non-Realism, Allegory: The Perspective of Perfection, Radical Typology: Permanent Possibility, Enlightenment and Counter-Enlightenment  5. Psyche, The Primal Crime, The Search for the Self, The Grammar of the Mind  6. History, Criticism as Romance, A Single Story?, In the Labyrinth

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Laurence Coupe is a senior lecturer in English at Manchester Metropolitan University.  He is interested in themes of mythology and ecology in contemporary literature and culture and his publications with Routledge include Kenneth Burke on Myth (2005) and The Green Studies Reader (2000).


'Should be of interest to a much wider audience than students of literary theory.' - Moderna Språk