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The Absence of Myth
The Absence of Myth
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Sophia Heller - Author
Price: $60.00 
Hardcover - 270 pages
Release Date: December 2005
ISBN10: 0-7914-6589-6
ISBN13: 978-0-7914-6589-9

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Price: $31.95 
Paperback - 270 pages
Release Date: June 2006
ISBN10: 0-7914-6590-X
ISBN13: 978-0-7914-6590-5

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Summary Read First Chapter image missing

Despite contemporary attempts to revive myth, this book argues that we are living in a world without myth and looks at what this means for humankind.

In this provocative work, Sophia Heller challenges the assumption that we cannot be without myth, that myth is necessary to vital, soulful living. Indeed, Heller argues, we have been living in a world without myth for a long time. The Absence of Myth examines the loss of a religious mode of being-in-the-world and demonstrates how theorists who insist on the presence of myth deny its historical end.

Absence of myth may seem obvious: evidenced by our lack of cult and ritual, and by our de-animated natural world, as well as in the emergence of conceptual thought and psychological awareness, which could only arise with the dissolution of a prereflective (mythic) mode of being-in-the-world. But what appears to be straightforward becomes complicated when myth is intentionally conflated with thought and reflection, usually in the attempt to cultivate a “mythic consciousness” that aims to restore meaning to life and assuage the spiritual malaise of contemporary culture.

Myth cannot rest in peace. It must be continually unearthed, redefined, and recontextualized such that modern and postmodern notions of myth are made to substitute for something that has never been experienced, only imagined.

“The author is fully versed in the relevant texts and salient debates, and she advances a startling thesis: the modern world is not only devoid of myth, it’s better off without it. The critical issues she raises are long overdue and her thought-provoking arguments have the potential to prompt a radical revisioning of what the study of myth is all about.” — Kelly Bulkeley, author of Visions of the Night: Dreams, Religion, and Psychology

“Conclusions here are sharply different than the status quo within much of contemporary mythography. At last someone has been brave enough to point out that the emperor has no clothes.” — William G. Doty, author of Mythography: The Study of Myths and Rituals, Second Edition

Sophia Heller is an independent scholar with a Ph.D. in Mythological Studies from Pacifica Graduate Institute. She lives in Massachusetts.


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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Introduction

1. The Absence of Myth

2. The Personalization of Myth

3. The Lingering of Myth

4. The Negation of Myth

Conclusion

Notes
Bibliography
Index



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