Mythopoeic Narrative in The Legend of Zelda  book cover
1st Edition

Mythopoeic Narrative in The Legend of Zelda

ISBN 9780367437985
Published February 13, 2020 by Routledge
252 Pages

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USD $170.00

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Book Description

The Legend of Zelda series is one of the most popular and recognizable examples in videogames of what Tolkien referred to as mythopoeia, or myth-making. In his essay On Fairy Stories and a short poem entitled Mythopoeia, Tolkien makes the case that the fairy tale aesthetic is simply a more intimate version of the same principle underlying the great myths: the human desire to make meaning out of the world. By using mythopoeia as a touchstone concept, the essays in this volume explore how The Legend of Zelda series turns the avatar, through which the player interacts with the in-game world, into a player-character symbiote wherein the individual both enacts and observes the process of integrating worldbuilding with storytelling. Twelve essays explore Zelda’s mythmaking from the standpoints of literary criticism, videogame theory, musicology, ecocriticism, pedagogy, and more.

Table of Contents

Introduction: Zelda, Mythopoeia, and the Importance of Developing an "Inside" Perspective on Videogames

Anthony G. Cirilla


Foundations: Mythmakers and Myth-Players

Chapter 1. Digital Mythopoeia: Exploring modern myth-making in The Legend of Zelda
Alicia Fox-Lenz

Chapter 2. Extrapolative Silence in Mythopoeic Spectacle, or, Why does Link Look so Bored?

Thomas Rowland

Chapter 3 Curiositas and Critical Glitches: Speedrunning The Legend of Zelda

Ethan Smilie


The Legend of Zelda: Entrance into Mythopoeic Structure

Chapter 4. The Hero of Fa¿rie: The Triforce and Transformational Play in Link’s Mythopoeic Journey

Anthony G. Cirilla

Chapter 5. Twilight and Faërie: The Music of Twilight Princess as Tolkienesque Nostalgia

Vincent E. Rone

Chapter 6. The Domestic Champion in The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker

Michael David Elam

There’s Something Mything Here: Problems of Counter-Structure or Contra-Structure in Zelda’s Mythopoeic Methods

Chapter 7. "You Played the Ocarina Again, Didn’t You!!": Catastrophe and the Aesthetics of Evil in Ocarina of Time

Nathan Schmidt

Chapter 8. A Link Across Adventures: Literacy’s Relevance to Time in The Legend of Zelda Series’ Mythopoeia

Matthew Sautman

Chapter 9. Haunted by Heroes: Mythology & Hauntology in The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask
Damian Asling

The Legend of Pedagogy: Theory and Practice

Chapter 10. The Hero of Time: The Legend of Zelda as Children’s Literature

Chamutal Noimann & Elliot H. Serkin

Chapter 11. Take Away the Sword: Teaching for Creativity and Communication with the Legend of Zelda in Art History

David Boffa

Chapter 12. Regenerative Play and the Experience of the Sublime in The Legend of Zelda:Breath of the Wild

Gerald Farca

Alexander Lehner

Victor Navarro-Remesal

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Anthony G. Cirilla is Assistant Professor of English Literature at College of the Ozarks and associate editor of Carmina Philosophiae, the Journal of the International Boethius Society. He received his PhD in English literature from Saint Louis University and has published and presented extensively in both Boethius and videogame studies.

Vincent E. Rone (PhD, 2014, UC Santa Barbara) writes, composes, teaches, and performs. He specializes in sacred-music reforms of Catholic France and the music of fantasy, notably The Lord of the Rings and The Legend of Zelda franchises. He currently is co-editing an anthology, Nostalgia and Videogame Music.


"Cirilla and Rone's collection marks an important moment for The Legend of Zelda franchise. These essays affirm the franchise’s continuing significance to Game Studies and also illuminate meaningful contexts for future scholarship." Adam Crowley, Associate Professor of English, Husson University, author of The Wealth of Virtual Nations: Videogame Currencies


"Through a diversity of approaches, this wonderful volume convincingly builds a case for the immersive mythmaking power of a franchise that’s as beloved to fantasy gaming as Tolkien’s work is to fantasy literature. By pushing the boundary of videogame scholarship into specializations—in this case Zelda Studies—the authors remind us that the question worth asking is no longer whether videogames are art, but how." Luke Cuddy, Professor of Philosophy, Southwestern College