1. Marivian
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    Marivian Member

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    Looking For Some Good Books

    Discussion in 'Research' started by Marivian, Oct 20, 2014.

    There are three things I'd like to research right now but I have no idea what books to read. They are...

    - Greek Mythology

    - Chinese Mythology

    - Urban Legends

    Does anyone know any really good books on these subjects where I could learn about the various characters, where they came from and their stories?
     
  2. jazzabel
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    jazzabel Contributing Member Contributor

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    @Lemex is an expert on classics here, so he can give better specific examples. But any collection of Greeks and Roman myths is good, also 'Iliad' and 'Odyssey'.

    Taoist texts are usually interesting, also anything on history of China. 'Cinderella' was an old Chinese fairytale, so there are bound to be many fascinating ones.

    Not sure about urban legends, google can be helpful.
     
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  3. jonahmann
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    jonahmann Active Member

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    Try snopes.com for urban legends.
     
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  4. chicagoliz
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    chicagoliz Contributing Member Contributor

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    Have you tried perusing local bookstores and libraries? Also, have you done some general google searches and searches on amazon?
    (BTW: I still think it's a good idea to ask here, too, as someone may have a great suggestion. It can be helpful if you tell us where you've looked so far.)
     
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  5. Lemex
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    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

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    Thanks jazzabel. The Iliad and Odyssey are good for stories that encapsulate Greek myths. Virgil's Aeneid is the last accepted part of the 'epic cycle'. While there are other poems as fragments, for all we know only Homer and Virgil have actually survived of this - and Virgil isn't quite as surprising considering he was a) Roman, and b) Virgil. For Homer and Virgil I suggest using as a starter translation the Robert Fagles, though if you end up reading and liking other translations more, I can understand that.

    Other poems from the period to check out for Greco-Roman myths would be Hesiod's Works and Days and Theogony. Both of which are pretty much the 'Seers Song' in the Norse Edda, giving the genealogy of the gods and the mythology history. Any translation will do - that comment might reflect my own feelings on Hesiod though.

    The other really important epic in the Greco-Roman myths is Ovid's Metamorphosis. This I would hold above all others, because in many ways it's a huge catalog of the myths in a brilliant and very weird epic poem, but everything you'll need to know will likely be found in it. I'm not sure which translation I would really suggest, no one has (or I think can) crack the Metamorphosis, but the one I use is found in the Oxford World Classics, the other good translation is in the Penguin Classics. Either one will really do.

    Library of Greek Mythology by Apollodorus - this one's a given, it's Greek mythology by an ancient Greek. I strongly recommend the Oxford World Classics edition.

    Other than that, for modern books I recommend the book Greek Mythology, published by Aram. This one might actually be hard to find (I don't know) because I think I bought my copy in Greece. (It has the legal stuff all in Greek). But if you can get it, it's good, it's short, concise, elegantly written, and full of beautiful illustrations of Greek art.

    Greek Myths by Robert Graves is a great book. I've not read enough Robert Graves actually, he is an excellent writer.

    Other than that, I would recommend having a look around Amazon. There might be other good books on the subject, but those books listed should give you the best grounding of the Greco-Roman myths that I know of.

    However, we cannot imagine Greek mythology existed purely in Greece, without the influence of any other myth-cycle, religion or culture. Ancient Greeks often appropriated other gods from other cultures, and there are a number of local gods that appeared and died away over the years. This comes with, and is thanks to, the way Greek culture developed as a series of Polis. They used and worshiped Phonetician gods, like Dagon, Egyptian gods were much favoured because at the time Egypt was THE superpower and was seen as the cultural and intellectual high standard that all cultures that were 'civilized' aspired to rival. And they worshiped Dorian gods too, so it will be worth looking into these cultures to get a full grasp on the ancient world.


    I'm utterly hopeless with Chinese mythology. Urban legends - like Folklore? The only book I really know of is The Golden Bough.
     
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  6. Marivian
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    Marivian Member

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    Thank you for all the advice everyone!

    You know I totally forgot that Cinderella was an old Chinese fairytale. Now copyright wise, would I be able to use that version of Cinderella in my stories or would Disney sue my pants off? I'm already assuming that both figures of Greek and Chinese Mythology are fair use but I'm not sure about something like Cinderella.

    Thanks, I will.

    I have not tried local bookstores. In fact I generally avoid them these days due to being low on funds and preferring to have books on my Kindle.

    I did do Google searches but I found that sometimes sites conflicted with their information. I didn't bother with Amazon because I had no idea where to look. I was sure that just using "Greek Mythology" wasn't a good enough search.

    It's funny you say that because I looked up Iliad and Odyssey and saw some reviewer on Amazon broke it down comparing Fagles to Pope. It appears Pope is easier to get one's hands on but I can't stand Pope. I'm not trying to read this in verse form and I prefer it told as a story.



    Might this book work?

    Now I'm wondering what the 'Seers Song' is.

    I'll have to get my hands on that.

    Just got it.

    Couldn't find this but I did find a few books just titled Greek Mythology that are short.





    Would any of these suffice?

    Yes I see he has more than one book.

    I thank you very much.

    You know the real problem I'm finding when looking into this kinda thing is that it appears some things are different depending on what site you go to. This is why I preferred to find books but that may present the same problem.

    By Urban Legends I meant stories kinda like Slenderman. But last last I checked Slenderman is under copyright so I couldn't use him in a story.
     
  7. Marivian
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    Marivian Member

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    I appear to have taken too long so I cannot Edit my post but here are some Greek mythology links I found with my original Google search.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_hybrid_creatures_in_mythology
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Greek_mythological_creatures
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_thunder_gods
    http://www.greekmythology.com/

    In regards to Chinese mythology...

    http://www.livingmyths.com/Chinese.htm
    http://www.godchecker.com/pantheon/chinese-mythology.php

    And in regards to Urban Legends...

    http://www.buzzfeed.com/mccarricksean/11-creatures-you-do-not-want-to-run-into-this-hall-fjmu

    That's about all I've found so far.
     
  8. Lemex
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    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

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    I must admit I don't much like Pope's version, I like his original poetry, but maybe I've not spent enough time with his Homer. I must admit, your objection to a verse form doesn't really make much sense. If you get a verse translation you are getting told a story, and you are getting it in a form closer to the way it was originally told - I often don't really see what prose translations add beside maybe clinical clarity that I would say isn't really needed. Homer is poetry, epic poetry was the way the ancient people told stories.

    Epic poetry follows certain rules. It always starts with a call on the muses (think of them as spirits of invention) for help in telling the story set before the writer, and the epic always has great battles, great speeches, a grand theme (arate - or the excellent qualities of a life spent in warfare) sometimes has a journey to the underworld, and also it is all story. There isn't a lot of lyric-poetry-esque interpretation unless you search for it. What matters in epic poetry is the story - it's the focus, the main thing it's trying to do.

    That might. To be honest I tend to stay away from things like that, partly because I cannot vouch for the formatting, and also because I like physical books more. That collection has the famous translations of Alexander Pope and Samuel Butler, and a rather impressive amount of extra material - the complete works of Virgil, and a play by Aeschylus that to the best of my knowledge is lost sans a single line fragment, so I'd like to see what exactly that is.

    Sorry - it's the first poem of the Norse Elder Edda, it basically goes through the birth of the universe, the wars of the gods with the giants, Ragnarok and the after days. It's a good poem.

    The second one. The thing I'd suggest, personally, is getting a book with a lot of pictures of Greek art, because it would show you how the Greeks imagined their monsters, how they saw themselves, and also how they saw heroes. I know not everyone will want a book of art, but I think Greek art is beautiful!

    He had a varied career. That book is a great and comprehensive collection of the Greek myths, if you can get a complete copy of that book you are laughing.

    I honestly wouldn't really know about the websites, I don't tend to look at them. A lot of what I know has came from books on the subject, academic articles, and travels across Greece itself.

    Ah, then I'd be hopeless, sorry. Unless you want to read some CreepyPasta I guess.
     
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2014
  9. jazzabel
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    jazzabel Contributing Member Contributor

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    @Marivian : You can definitely go ahead and use the story of Cinderella any which way you want. It is an ancient tale, then re-worked by can't remember now, either brothers Grimm or H.C. Anderson, the only thing Disney has copyright over is the actual animated movie and all the images in it. Same with other classic fairytales like Little Mermaid, but obviously, the name 'Ariel' was added by Disney.
     

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