web site hit counter Curious Myths of the Middle Ages: The Sangreal, Pope Joan, The Wandering Jew, and Others - Ebooks PDF Online
Hot Best Seller

Curious Myths of the Middle Ages: The Sangreal, Pope Joan, The Wandering Jew, and Others

Availability: Ready to download

One of the most brilliant, eclectic thinkers in Victorian England, the Reverend Sabine Baring-Gould (1834–1924) was intrigued by the grotesque and often savage history of the Middle Ages. The noted author and folklorist’s fascination with the period resulted in this absorbing compilation of vintage tales surrounding such figures as William Tell and the Man in the Moon. Twe One of the most brilliant, eclectic thinkers in Victorian England, the Reverend Sabine Baring-Gould (1834–1924) was intrigued by the grotesque and often savage history of the Middle Ages. The noted author and folklorist’s fascination with the period resulted in this absorbing compilation of vintage tales surrounding such figures as William Tell and the Man in the Moon. Twenty-four legendary figures — among others, Saint Patrick, the Pied Piper, knights of the Holy Grail, and St. George — are rejuvenated in this collection for a new audience. In addition to outlines of the myths, the author provides an objective analysis of their origins, relevance, and the extent of their basis in fact. Fascinating sources include Christian adaptations of prehistoric legends, misinterpretations of actual events, and outright fabrications. Accompanying illustrations provide a visual appreciation for these timeless classics. A marvelous introduction to age-old stories, this oft-cited work will be of value and interest to students, scholars, and other readers.


Compare

One of the most brilliant, eclectic thinkers in Victorian England, the Reverend Sabine Baring-Gould (1834–1924) was intrigued by the grotesque and often savage history of the Middle Ages. The noted author and folklorist’s fascination with the period resulted in this absorbing compilation of vintage tales surrounding such figures as William Tell and the Man in the Moon. Twe One of the most brilliant, eclectic thinkers in Victorian England, the Reverend Sabine Baring-Gould (1834–1924) was intrigued by the grotesque and often savage history of the Middle Ages. The noted author and folklorist’s fascination with the period resulted in this absorbing compilation of vintage tales surrounding such figures as William Tell and the Man in the Moon. Twenty-four legendary figures — among others, Saint Patrick, the Pied Piper, knights of the Holy Grail, and St. George — are rejuvenated in this collection for a new audience. In addition to outlines of the myths, the author provides an objective analysis of their origins, relevance, and the extent of their basis in fact. Fascinating sources include Christian adaptations of prehistoric legends, misinterpretations of actual events, and outright fabrications. Accompanying illustrations provide a visual appreciation for these timeless classics. A marvelous introduction to age-old stories, this oft-cited work will be of value and interest to students, scholars, and other readers.

30 review for Curious Myths of the Middle Ages: The Sangreal, Pope Joan, The Wandering Jew, and Others

  1. 4 out of 5

    Hat of Nikitich

    This work does its best to discredit original folklore and mythologies by claiming they were naught but a bad influence on the later 'purified,' Christianized versions so heavily employed by the Church to lure a more pagan following into the pews. In fact, the author asserts their influence should have been purged from the Church, that it would have been better they be forgotten than their heathen origins taint an innocent flock. Barf. I know it's from the 1890s, I get that. But everything about This work does its best to discredit original folklore and mythologies by claiming they were naught but a bad influence on the later 'purified,' Christianized versions so heavily employed by the Church to lure a more pagan following into the pews. In fact, the author asserts their influence should have been purged from the Church, that it would have been better they be forgotten than their heathen origins taint an innocent flock. Barf. I know it's from the 1890s, I get that. But everything about the authorship, from the lazy scholarship to the rabid Antisemitism, is terrible, and I felt dirty mining the few gems I did from it. I can't damn it as much as I'd like, because it did at least preserve those few things, and when it wasn't proselytizing for the Catholic Church it was even interesting, no matter how reluctant it would seem be. Stupidest Part: wherein the author randomly determines Protestantism is keeping alive various heathen practices and goes on to plainly announce Methodism as a sham cover for druidism. I can't make this shit up.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Theresa

    It's my fault for not paying attention- my dumb ass thought these were literally a selection of Medieval myths. But no. This is a religious (Christian) analysis of said myths. I tried to read it anyway; but no dice for me. It's my fault for not paying attention- my dumb ass thought these were literally a selection of Medieval myths. But no. This is a religious (Christian) analysis of said myths. I tried to read it anyway; but no dice for me.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    2.5 stars This was not what I had expected. I had wanted to read a book of myths but this was more like an explanation of the myths. It was an interesting albeit biased bit of information on a few of the more popular folktales.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Scott Harris

    Baring-Gould collects in one place many of the myths of Medieval England, which are likely uncommon to many contemporary readers, although some remain familiar (i.e. William Tell). Baring-Gould does an excellent job of relating these stories to the extant mythology from many ancient cultures and as such draws into question the historical veracity. I found however that his eagerness to dispel the legitimacy of the myths was high strung and almost fervent. He is so convinced himself that he leaves Baring-Gould collects in one place many of the myths of Medieval England, which are likely uncommon to many contemporary readers, although some remain familiar (i.e. William Tell). Baring-Gould does an excellent job of relating these stories to the extant mythology from many ancient cultures and as such draws into question the historical veracity. I found however that his eagerness to dispel the legitimacy of the myths was high strung and almost fervent. He is so convinced himself that he leaves the reader without a sense of fairness or justice in his treatment of the material - even when we are inclined to agree with him. He also presumes that historical precedence precludes re-occurence which can be a dangerous assumption in matters of human experience.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Kathryn (Nine Pages)

    Review originally published on my blog, Nine Pages . In his introduction to this edition, Hardy writes that he “ruthlessly abandoned the farther shores of [Baring-Gould’s] research,” and I am inclined to believe that he was utterly ruthless (14-15). I have sought out copies of Baring-Gould’s unedited text and have found 600 page volumes where this one is 159. I found Hardy’s edit of Baring-Gould’s original to be wonderfully readable and accessible, mostly because in this edit each story and it Review originally published on my blog, Nine Pages . In his introduction to this edition, Hardy writes that he “ruthlessly abandoned the farther shores of [Baring-Gould’s] research,” and I am inclined to believe that he was utterly ruthless (14-15). I have sought out copies of Baring-Gould’s unedited text and have found 600 page volumes where this one is 159. I found Hardy’s edit of Baring-Gould’s original to be wonderfully readable and accessible, mostly because in this edit each story and its dissection is only a few pages long, most entries less than 10 pages, making it an easy book to read in pieces. I found most of what I would want from this book—the myths themselves and some information about their possible antecedents—to be present in the abridged edition. I have not yet and probably won’t read the ponderous 600 page volume; there is too much more modern scholarship to read, and this was a library book acquisition literally picked up when the book that I came for could not be found. Please note that from now on whenever I cite “Baring-Gould” I really mean “Baring-Gould filtered by Hardy” because I suspect that Hardy’s edit has greatly influenced my impression of this book. This is both a collection of myths and a study of myths. Although Baring-Gould often points out similarities between the myth that he is telling and myths of other continents, this book is whoppingly Eurocentric, focusing most of its time on myths of Germany, France, and Great Britain—somewhat understandable as Baring-Gould seems to have spent most of his time in these countries—but his evaluation of and the language that he uses to speak about peoples outside of Europe is often uncomfortable to a modern reader. Most of the myths that Baring-Gould, an Anglican priest and hymnist, explores here elevate and presuppose a Christian worldview—again, understandable given the focus on European myths of the medieval period when and where the Church had more power and more greatly effected everyday life and given Baring-Gould’s own religious occupation, though again the disregard for other religions and even other branches of Protestantism than Anglican is again uncomfortable. Baring-Gould’s view of Christianity seems more militant than some too; his perhaps best known hymn is “Onward, Christian Soldier,” so his militancy doesn’t surprise me either, though even that hymn has always made me uncomfortable. Some myths discussed here are stories of holy objects or people who interacted with Jesus on earth. Some are about devils or portals to Hell or Purgatory. Some are stories of saints or fallen Church officials. A few are more secular, like the tale of Gellert or of Melusina. Many are myths that have made their way if not in their entirety then in pieces or into the framework of the imagination of modern, Western consciousness. The story of Gellert, for example, I knew almost exactly as Baring-Gould reports it. The story of the Man in the Moon I had never heard, but of course I know the phrase. The barest bones of the story of Pope Joan I knew but not the particulars. Baring-Gould at times comes off as stunningly condescending towards any who disagree with his assessments of the origins and meanings of these myths. “It need hardly be stated that the whole story of Pope Joan is fictitious and fabulous, and has not the slightest historical foundation” (72). Though often he traces his assumptions through a list of sources and presuppositions, at times in this edition—too often—there is little to no explanation of particular statements, making me wonder if such statements were considered fact by the everyday nineteenth century literate who might have found this volume in its original printing—or perhaps were facts to Hardy’s readers in the 1970s. For example, Baring-Gould connects the English Jack and Jill to the Scandinavian Hjuki and Bil largely based on a supposed similarity between the names which seems like it could to me be coincidental and not an etymologically sound conclusion then decides that the trek of Jack and Jill up the hill and tumbling back down represents the waxing and waning of the moon because of his connection to the two Scandinavian children who are kept on the moon. Past his word, there’s little evidence presented here. Again, “Ursula is in fact none other than the Swabian goddess Ursel or Hörsel (Hürsel) to whom human sacrifices were occasionally made and who became the Venus of Venusberg, or Hürselberg, who entranced and debauched Tannhäuser” (105). I have learned being even a casual reader of Tumblr posts about etymology to be skeptical of such seemingly direct lines of etymological connection. I might believe a shared etymological source for the name of the saint and the name of the goddess before I would believe a direct descent from stories of the goddess to stories of the saint—especially without any proof of such, which I do not get from Baring-Gould. I enjoyed the introduction to a few new European myths and further explanations of ones with which I was already passingly familiar, but much of what Baring-Gould states seems like it ought to be taken with a healthy dose of salt as his biases are very much on parade here and his evidence is at times thin and his observations sometimes not backed up at all. I'm waffling on a 2 or 3 on this one... because his biases get in the way of what should be an enjoyable and easy review of European, largely Christian myths.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Kristin

    Really very interesting. There are parts that are very obviously written from the Victorian point of view, which made me wonder how much of that interpretation was still worthwhile. However, I did get to read about a bunch of myths I'd never heard of before, and the parallels drawn between "Jack and Jill went up the hill" and Nordic myths about children in the moon and the phases of the moon were fascinating. Really very interesting. There are parts that are very obviously written from the Victorian point of view, which made me wonder how much of that interpretation was still worthwhile. However, I did get to read about a bunch of myths I'd never heard of before, and the parallels drawn between "Jack and Jill went up the hill" and Nordic myths about children in the moon and the phases of the moon were fascinating.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Hayden

    Seemed to be have a lot of research behind it. However, it was more a history of the myths than simply their telling. Interesting how the medieval myths were such a strange conglomeration of Christian beliefs and pagan superstition.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Fachrina

    No, I didn't actually finish this. It's an interesting book, nonetheless. It's basically an examination of the various myths and legends found in Europe during the Middle Ages. Baring-Gould traces the origin of a myth and compares the various versions of the same basic myth. I enjoyed the ones that I did read. Unfortunately I had to return it to the library and did not feel compelled to borrow it again in order to finish. No, I didn't actually finish this. It's an interesting book, nonetheless. It's basically an examination of the various myths and legends found in Europe during the Middle Ages. Baring-Gould traces the origin of a myth and compares the various versions of the same basic myth. I enjoyed the ones that I did read. Unfortunately I had to return it to the library and did not feel compelled to borrow it again in order to finish.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Stephen

    Fantastic read by a pioneering British folklorist (who was also an incredibly interesting guy -- look him up). The book came out in 1866, so its interpretation of medieval folklore isn't the final word, but nobody beats this guy for style. Reads like a velvet fist to the face. Charming stuff from a born storyteller. Fantastic read by a pioneering British folklorist (who was also an incredibly interesting guy -- look him up). The book came out in 1866, so its interpretation of medieval folklore isn't the final word, but nobody beats this guy for style. Reads like a velvet fist to the face. Charming stuff from a born storyteller.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Bram van der Meij

    A bit simple. Probably just right for those who like it short and simple but I like things a little meatier. Maps and illustrations would have made a big difference.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Joe

    The title is the coolest part about this book. Mostly a snooze fest.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Havanah

    On the day I received my exam results I visited Bath with the aim of buying myself a piece of jewellery, something I do on every significant day. This didn't work out so well with the woman in the jewellery shop being rather rude and me walking out empty handed. However, this did mean I had some extra time, and money, which was put to good use in the local Oxfam second hand bookshop. I will admit that I bought this book because of the pictures. Call me fickle if you like but since I received an i On the day I received my exam results I visited Bath with the aim of buying myself a piece of jewellery, something I do on every significant day. This didn't work out so well with the woman in the jewellery shop being rather rude and me walking out empty handed. However, this did mean I had some extra time, and money, which was put to good use in the local Oxfam second hand bookshop. I will admit that I bought this book because of the pictures. Call me fickle if you like but since I received an illustrated Odyssey and Iliad for Christmas when I was about eight I have been a sucker for illustrated mythologies. The illustrations, which I believe are by Peter Komarnyckyj who certainly drew the cover image, are really lovely and remain my favourite part of this book. In fact, they are what lift the rating. 'Myths of the Middle Ages' seems to jump from being a story book, telling the reader about the myths, to an interpretation of the myths and an academic account, to a biography of Sabine Baring-Gould, his life, and works. All of these aspects were very interesting but I didn't feel that they went together all that well. It made for rather a jerking, jittering read. If I'm completely honest, I enjoyed the introduction section to each myth the most out of all of the writing. I found myself reminded of Herodotus, in style, when reading Gould's writing on the myths and that is not a compliment! The stories themselves, are usually told in brief. Gould then ties in pieces of 'evidence' to give a fuller picture of stories around the myths in question. Although this means that you get 'all' the story, although I've no doubt that the tales included were chosen as relevant by Gould, leading to omissions, it means that it's not really a story at all but rather a list of happenings. The tales wouldn't be interesting to someone who hadn't already got an interest in Medieval myths. Then you get onto interpretation and ideas about where the stories and myths might have come from. The biggest complaint I have read about this book regards the somewhat tunnel visioned interpretation that Gould offers of the myths detailed, he being both Victorian, and a Christian Reverend. I would agree that there is a Christian emphasis to the myths, both in the choosing, and in the telling. That said, writing often tells us more about the people who wrote it and the times in which they lived than the times about which they are writing and I think that, if we can keep that in mind, it's not a bad thing at all. It's impossible to be objective. However, I do think Gould was trying to be objective, stating, "Like many another ancient myth, it was laid hold of by Christian hands and baptised". All the same, it's probably not the most objective academic study of mythology available. And that's the problem really. 'Myths of the Middle Ages' doesn't tell you the stories well. It doesn't give a seemingly full interpretation. It sets out to do too much and in trying to do that doesn't really do any of it. Overall, the book was a disappointment, I'm sorry to say.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Mike

    Fascinating, if dated, look at some myths and legends, some very well known and some very obscure. B-G tries to find traces of the legends in earlier myths and fragments, showing off his vast erudition. A few of his conclusions are rather bizarre (he infamously claims that Methodism is a revival of Druidism) and he makes a lot of speculation to help fill in the connections between possibly connected legends. One example that really stood out was in his analysis of the story of the Bishop Hatto, Fascinating, if dated, look at some myths and legends, some very well known and some very obscure. B-G tries to find traces of the legends in earlier myths and fragments, showing off his vast erudition. A few of his conclusions are rather bizarre (he infamously claims that Methodism is a revival of Druidism) and he makes a lot of speculation to help fill in the connections between possibly connected legends. One example that really stood out was in his analysis of the story of the Bishop Hatto, who is eaten by rats. He finds many echoes of the theme in stories taking place earlier and later, and ultimately connects it to human sacrifice among the ancient Scandinavians: the Norse "might" have sacrificed people by breaking their backs and marooning them on rat-infested islands. Well certainly there were some odd methods of sacrificing people in the north but that's a very specific and strange scenario to assume, lacking any accounts of such a practice! But for the most part he is convincing. The themes and motifs he finds connecting medieval myths with earlier beliefs mostly seem solid, and he makes a good case for many of his claims about pagan survivals into Christian-era folklore. Readers unfamiliar with 19th century scholarship will be taken aback by some of the turns of phrase (for example he uses the now loaded term "Aryan" for what we'd now call Indo-European, and "race" in place of "ethnicity" or "nationality"), but he has no more bias than you'd expect for a 19th century Englishman. That is, he has the usual anti-Semitic and anti-Catholic prejudices, but does not dwell on them. He also gives extended quotes of texts in Latin and other languages without translation, which was a common 19th century practice, but for the most part he provides English paraphrases instead.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Leah

    I think 19th century non-fiction books of this stripe are something of an acquired taste, as it takes a while to cut through the blatant lack of objectivity, endless references to others texts, and menacing blocks of untranslated Latin to get to the actual information. Still, as far as ponderous Victorian books on folklore go, Baring-Gould is honestly more entertaining than his competition. Each chapter of Curious Myths of the Middle Ages generally begins with a solid piece of folklore and then I think 19th century non-fiction books of this stripe are something of an acquired taste, as it takes a while to cut through the blatant lack of objectivity, endless references to others texts, and menacing blocks of untranslated Latin to get to the actual information. Still, as far as ponderous Victorian books on folklore go, Baring-Gould is honestly more entertaining than his competition. Each chapter of Curious Myths of the Middle Ages generally begins with a solid piece of folklore and then proceeds to ramble its way into absurdity. The section on William Tell eventually terminates into a satirical piece on how Napoleon is the living incarnation of the sun. The chapter on the Swan Knight eventually brings the reader to some bizarre concluding remarks on how druidism has secretly survived in the guise of Methodism. Baring-Gould's analyses obviously don't hold much scholarly weight by 21st century standards, but if one looks at the book as a study of Victorians rather than as a study of actual folklore, there's a great deal of fun to be had from it.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Michael Brown

    If you can manage the sometimes ponderous writing style, this is a very interesting look at some widespread European legends. Some are well-known (William Tell, The Sangreal), others less so (Bishop Hatto). Whatever the case, the back-stories and legend parallel are often really intriguing, although I'm not sure we can be quite so conclusive these days about the symbolism etc. A common theme is the "pagan" roots of many a supposedly pure "Christian" fable or person. Although Baring-Gould sometime If you can manage the sometimes ponderous writing style, this is a very interesting look at some widespread European legends. Some are well-known (William Tell, The Sangreal), others less so (Bishop Hatto). Whatever the case, the back-stories and legend parallel are often really intriguing, although I'm not sure we can be quite so conclusive these days about the symbolism etc. A common theme is the "pagan" roots of many a supposedly pure "Christian" fable or person. Although Baring-Gould sometimes uses this as ammunition against other denominations than his own Anglican faith, the point is never taken too far in my opinion. The author is simply too delightedly caught up in his folkloristic investigations. And these days, theories that English Dissenter denominations carried a fair dose of pre-Christian inspiration could almost be seen as a recommendation! Also, at one stage he regrets that the Church never adopted a particularly poetic ancient tale.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Jack Wright

    If you first take into account that this book was written in 1867 and that some views about people of certain regions and religions are going to not be 100%, then you'll probably be fine with everything else in this book. Each chapter follows a similar formula: a telling of the traditional or most common version of that story followed by a general analysis of the story and ending with similar stories in either events or themes from other cultures or geographical regions. That's what I liked about If you first take into account that this book was written in 1867 and that some views about people of certain regions and religions are going to not be 100%, then you'll probably be fine with everything else in this book. Each chapter follows a similar formula: a telling of the traditional or most common version of that story followed by a general analysis of the story and ending with similar stories in either events or themes from other cultures or geographical regions. That's what I liked about this book. There were some myths that I was familiar with and others that I had never heard of before. And, I really liked hearing other perspectives (granted they were perspectives written about from a 1867 perspective) about a person/event that at one time was thought to be unique. It's a good read that is both informative (to a certain extent) and entertaining.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Isidore

    A useful compendium of mediaeval folklore, from the Victorian perspective. As was the academic fashion of the day, several mythological figures are passed off as devolved sun gods, and there are some quaint attempts to convict Methodists of practicing Druidism. The author was an early proponent of what might be called "the pick-and-choose school" of myth interpretation, still, alas, with us, in which handy bits of tradition from widely divergent cultures are pulled together to 'prove' that a par A useful compendium of mediaeval folklore, from the Victorian perspective. As was the academic fashion of the day, several mythological figures are passed off as devolved sun gods, and there are some quaint attempts to convict Methodists of practicing Druidism. The author was an early proponent of what might be called "the pick-and-choose school" of myth interpretation, still, alas, with us, in which handy bits of tradition from widely divergent cultures are pulled together to 'prove' that a particular motif is 'universal', while material which might expose the author's sleight-of-hand is ignored.

  18. 5 out of 5

    GCB-LovesGoodBooks

    I am glad I got this book for free. It has to be read with discernment. Maybe this should be adult reading?? Oh can we say antisemitism, aryan countries and the fatherland... ? Umm... later history shows where this kind of thinking led the world. It was interesting to see how people thought back when this was written. But I despaired a little to see that some of these attitudes are still in our institutions. I guess that was the most interesting part of this history and if I compare it to what we I am glad I got this book for free. It has to be read with discernment. Maybe this should be adult reading?? Oh can we say antisemitism, aryan countries and the fatherland... ? Umm... later history shows where this kind of thinking led the world. It was interesting to see how people thought back when this was written. But I despaired a little to see that some of these attitudes are still in our institutions. I guess that was the most interesting part of this history and if I compare it to what we know today, this history becomes a little more valuable. Maybe that is why this might be worth more than 2 stars. To compare the thinking then and learn from it today.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Joshua

    I think I read a different edition to this, because I read it on my Kindle and the hard copy I got in the mail seems more like an abridged copy for kids. The one I read had plenty of notes and sometimes long lists of references. The hard copy, which is the same amount of pages as this copy while my Kindle edition has around one hundred more, seems greatly lacking in those things. It feels stripped down to the basic stories of the myths and nothing more, while the copy I read explains the myths a I think I read a different edition to this, because I read it on my Kindle and the hard copy I got in the mail seems more like an abridged copy for kids. The one I read had plenty of notes and sometimes long lists of references. The hard copy, which is the same amount of pages as this copy while my Kindle edition has around one hundred more, seems greatly lacking in those things. It feels stripped down to the basic stories of the myths and nothing more, while the copy I read explains the myths and gives possible roots and causes to them.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Karen Mosley

    I was interested in this book because it was written by a real character in "The Moor", one of the Mary Russell/Sherlock Holmes mysteries I enjoyed. I also was interested in reading about Pope Joan, another recent book I enjoyed. Baring-Gould thinks Pope Joan is pure fiction, but he was also a priest! It was interesting to hear how some myths began, such as the Man in the Moon, the Wandering Jew and others. I was interested in this book because it was written by a real character in "The Moor", one of the Mary Russell/Sherlock Holmes mysteries I enjoyed. I also was interested in reading about Pope Joan, another recent book I enjoyed. Baring-Gould thinks Pope Joan is pure fiction, but he was also a priest! It was interesting to hear how some myths began, such as the Man in the Moon, the Wandering Jew and others.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Redsteve

    Although the book does focus on myths, legends and folktakes that were popular in the Middle Ages, the author also delves into their probable origins in earlier periods and also refers to similar stories in other cultures with no (or lost in antiquity) connection to Medieval Europe. I only give this a "2" as I felt that the writing was erratic from section to section. Some were quite readable and others painful to slog through. Although the book does focus on myths, legends and folktakes that were popular in the Middle Ages, the author also delves into their probable origins in earlier periods and also refers to similar stories in other cultures with no (or lost in antiquity) connection to Medieval Europe. I only give this a "2" as I felt that the writing was erratic from section to section. Some were quite readable and others painful to slog through.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Ashley

    This really isn't much of a scholarly book, and so it doesn't go too in-depth on the tales that it talks about. Each section is a bit of the myth, possible other places it pops up in history, and then occasionally the author's view on its validity. In other words, don't go into this one if you're wanting to learn a lot of information. It's an interesting (and quick) little read though, and a good starting place for further research. This really isn't much of a scholarly book, and so it doesn't go too in-depth on the tales that it talks about. Each section is a bit of the myth, possible other places it pops up in history, and then occasionally the author's view on its validity. In other words, don't go into this one if you're wanting to learn a lot of information. It's an interesting (and quick) little read though, and a good starting place for further research.

  23. 4 out of 5

    JoAnn

    Somewhat interesting, although I still cannot understand what the chapter on number coincidences had to do with the theme of the book. Most of the coincidences cited were hardly Middle Ages (1700-1800's?) and I could not see any mythological themes. I suspect it was just filler. I agree with other readers who found the author to be preachy at times, rather than objectively presenting common myths without editorializing. Somewhat interesting, although I still cannot understand what the chapter on number coincidences had to do with the theme of the book. Most of the coincidences cited were hardly Middle Ages (1700-1800's?) and I could not see any mythological themes. I suspect it was just filler. I agree with other readers who found the author to be preachy at times, rather than objectively presenting common myths without editorializing.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Ruth

    c1866. I have read several non-fiction books by Victorian authors and they all seem to quote whole paragraphs from their reference sources in the original version. This predilection does not make for easy reading at all. 24 myths are covered in all ranging from The Wandering Jew to The Piper of Hameln (sic). The piper is no other than the wind, and ancients held that in the wind were the souls of the dead.'. Charming! c1866. I have read several non-fiction books by Victorian authors and they all seem to quote whole paragraphs from their reference sources in the original version. This predilection does not make for easy reading at all. 24 myths are covered in all ranging from The Wandering Jew to The Piper of Hameln (sic). The piper is no other than the wind, and ancients held that in the wind were the souls of the dead.'. Charming!

  25. 5 out of 5

    Jestersinc

    Some interesting reading and food for thought, the only detraction is that some sections have a few pieces in latin and french with no translation supplied. However if you enjoy a bit of history, a bit of conniving, and want to see where some of the basis of certain fairy tales originate, then this would be an enjoyable read.

  26. 4 out of 5

    John

    A sideways look into popular myths that have survived time and reality. You know early that you are in the midst of fantasy, but there is a certain charm that runs through the whole. This book promises nothing as to fact or trancendant study, so I see no reason to feel let down in its wandering. Enjoyed the sections on Prester John, William Tell and The Wandering Jew in particular.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Patti

    I was hoping to read some cool stories that I hadn't heard before, but instead of sharing the stories, the author spent the entire book sharing resource material and discussing historical writings about the myths. What a bore! I was hoping to read some cool stories that I hadn't heard before, but instead of sharing the stories, the author spent the entire book sharing resource material and discussing historical writings about the myths. What a bore!

  28. 4 out of 5

    Sidney Weber

    Fell short of expectations For reasons I cannot understand, I found this book a disappointment. Whether it was more myths, more detail, or more interpretation, I just kept thinking that something was missing.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Nick Wallace

    Always entertaining, though you've got to take breaks between sections due to the density of the old text. Always entertaining, though you've got to take breaks between sections due to the density of the old text.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Jim

    A fresh and interesting book of myths despite its age. Thanks to Laurie King's "The Moor" for making me aware of the author. A fresh and interesting book of myths despite its age. Thanks to Laurie King's "The Moor" for making me aware of the author.

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...
We use cookies to give you the best online experience. By using our website you agree to our use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.