Myths and Ancient Stories: Narrative, Meaning and Influence in the West

Research output: Book/ReportBookpeer-review


Myths are all around us. Many novels, films, games, images, poems, and plays recycle ancient stories, settings, and characters. Drawing on a wide range of English translations and established expertise, Myths and Ancient Stories offers interpretative introductions to some of the most celebrated and influential texts from the ancient world. Chapters on specific works are preceded by a discussion of how myth has been understood by thinkers since the early modern period, and an examination of its troubled relationship with scientific modernity. The interplay of mythological content and narrative form is then explored in chapters on The Epic of Gilgamesh, Genesis, Job, The Odyssey, the medieval genres of hagiography (lives of saints) and Romance, and The Mabinogion. Attending to expert opinions and arguments, issues of textual history and composition are discussed in relation to each of the major works, structural and thematic concerns are outlined, and explanatory commentary is provided. The book concludes with a consideration of contemporary uses of myth in literature and cinema. Acknowledging the ongoing significance of myth in contemporary western cultures, Myths and Ancient Stories argues for a careful critical assessment of both the dangers and the benefits of continuing to work with mythology in the production of contemporary narratives.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationLondon
PublisherBloomsbury Academic
Number of pages240
ISBN (Electronic)9781350346864 , 9781350346871
ISBN (Print)9781350346857 , 9781350346840
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 30 Nov 2023


  • myth
  • narrative
  • interpretation
  • influence
  • Gilgamesh
  • Genesis
  • Job
  • The Odyssey
  • The Mabinogion
  • gods
  • literature
  • science
  • modernity


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