Modern Mythology

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Author: Andrew Lang
Published: 1897
Language: English
Wordcount: 58,013 / 176 pg
Flesch-Kincaid Reading Ease: 60.2
LoC Categories: BL, GN
Downloads: 2,696
Added to site: 2005.02.27
mnybks.net#: 9838
Origin: gutenberg.org
Genre: Myth

It may well be doubted whether works of controversy serve any useful purpose. 'On an opponent,' as Mr. Matthew Arnold said, 'one never does make any impression,' though one may hope that controversy sometimes illuminates a topic in the eyes of impartial readers. The pages which follow cannot but seem wandering and desultory, for they are a reply to a book, Mr. Max Muller's Contributions to the Science of Mythology, in which the attack is of a skirmishing character. Throughout more than eight hundred pages the learned author keeps up an irregular fire at the ideas and methods of the anthropological school of mythologists. The reply must follow the lines of attack.

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ly ascertained), very little ingenuity is needed to make it indicate one or other aspect of Dawn or Night, of Lightning or Storm, just as the philologist pleases. Then he explains the divine or heroic being denoted by the name--as Dawn or Storm, or Fire or Night, or Twilight or Wind--in accordance with his private taste, easily accommodating the facts of the myth, whatever they may be, to his favourite solution. We rebel against this kind of logic, and persist in studying the myth in itself and in comparison with analogous myths in every accessible language. Certainly, if divine and heroic names--Artemis or Pundjel--can be interpreted, so much is gained. But the myth may be older than the name.

As Mr. Hogarth points out, Alexander has inherited in the remote East the myths of early legendary heroes. We cannot explain these by the analysis of the name of Alexander! Even if the heroic or divine name can be shown to be the original one (which is practically impossible), the meaning of the name he

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