Page images
PDF
EPUB
[graphic][merged small][merged small][merged small]

OF MYTH & LEGEND

BEING A REVISED & ENLARGED EDITION
OF "THE AGE OF FABLE"

BY

THOMAS BULFINCH

AUTHOR OF "THE AGE OF CHIVALRY"
"LEGENDS OF CHARLEMAGNE" ETO.

LONDON

GEORGE G. HARRAP & CO. LTD.
2 & 3 PORTSMOUTH STREET KINGSWAY W.C.

Printed at THE BALLANTYNE PRESS SPOTTISWOODE, BALLANTYNE & Co. LTD. Colchester, London & Eton, England

T

HIS work of Thomas Bulfinch (1796-1867) requires no introduction. It has taken secure place as a classic, and has received the homage of imitation from various authors whose books have also secured appreciation. It is, however, safe to say that no other book of its kind excels Bulfinch as a readable account of Greek and Roman mythology intended for those who are fond of good stories and for those who wish to be able to recognize the many allusions to these classic sources which abound in modern literature.

[ocr errors]

Although sixty years have elapsed since Bulfinch published his first edition of "The Age of Fable,' the book, on the whole, will bear critical examination to-day, and no attempt, therefore, has been made to subject the text to unnecessarily drastic revision. So far as the chapters devoted to Greek and Roman mythology are concerned, they are reprinted here without much alteration; additions have been made and some unimportant passages have been excised. A number of additional verse extracts have been inserted in the text; these are of undoubted merit and appropriateness, and they serve to reinforce the Author's design to illustrate the connexion of classic mythology with English literature. Much more is known of what may perhaps be termed the science of mythology than when this book first appeared; the section of Chapter xxxv dealing with the Origin of Mythology has therefore been revised and largely re-written by Mr. Lewis Spence, F.R.A.I.

Thomas Bulfinch devoted very little space to the deeply interesting subject of the religious beliefs of Egypt and the East. Chapters xxxiv and xxxvii were evidently included by him as an afterthought, and it is manifestly impossible in a few pages to do more than

145971

mention the fascinating mythologies which have attracted so many modern writers. Readers desirous of pursuing the subject will find many books available,1 and so it is not deemed advisable to enlarge materially here upon Bulfinch's scanty material. It was, however, necessary to rewrite the paragraphs devoted to Egyptian Deities. The section of the book devoted to Northern Mythology was somewhat more full, but it would certainly not satisfy the curiosity of the reader of to-day, and these chapters have been added to considerably. The editor feels that no apology need be offered for this; the Author's own text stands practically intact, but material has been inserted which, while doing no violence to the general plan of Bulfinch's work, supplements in some very important particulars the account of the early beliefs of a people closely allied to the English in blood. In this connexion we may quote the words of William Morris in reference to the Volsunga Saga, a fairly complete outline of which has been inserted in Chapter xl:

"This is the great story of the North, which should be to all our race what the Tale of Troy was to the Greeks to all our race first, and afterwards, when the change of the world has made our race nothing more than a name of what has been-a story toothen should it be to those that come after us no less than the Tale of Troy has been to us."

1 For example, "Myths of the Hindus and Buddhists," by Sister Nivedita and A. K. Coomaraswamy; "The Myths of Ancient Egypt" and "Myths of Babylonia and Assyria," by Lewis Spence, F.R.A.I.

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »