Aleksei Fedorovich Losev (1893-1988) was among the greatest Russian philosophers, thinkers, and classicists of the twentieth century. A contemporary of Mikhail Bakhtin, and a scholar of astonishing erudition, his work remained almost unknown to the public until the fall of communism in 1990. The Dialectics of Myth, published here for the first time in English, remains his foremost achievement. Setting out a provocative and spiritually informed account of the way that myth informs secular and religious ideologies, it challenges limited interpretations of myths as mere poetic allegories, primitive scientific constructs, or channels for religious dogma and political fabrication. Insisting upon the miraculous elements of myth, the book creates a powerful and readable defence for mythic experience as a genuine part of consciousness, reality, and being.
'One hopes that the appearnce of this volume heralds a full biography of Losev.'
Chapter I Myth is neither invention nor fiction nor fantastic fabrication. Chapter II Myth is not ideal being. Chapter III Myth is not a scientific nor, more specifically, a primitive scientific construct Chapter IV Myth is not a metaphysical construction Chapter V Myth is neither schema nor allegory Chapter VI Myth is not a poetic work Chapter VII Myth is a personalistic form Chapter VIII Myth is not an especially religious construction Chapter IX Myth is not religious dogma Chapter X Myth is not an historical event as such Chapter XI Myth is miraculous Chapter XII A review of all dialectical elements of myth from the standpoint of the concept of miracle Chapter XIII The final dialectical formula. Chapter XIV The transition to actual mythology and the idea of absolute mythology