The Modern Myths: Adventures in the Machinery of the Popular Imagination

University of Chicago Press, 1 mai 2021 - 384 pages
"Impressive. . . . Rich in cultural history and imagination. . . . To Ball, mythic writing is where the conditions of irrationality, superstition, and enchantment persist: forms of wonder that depend on the disconnect between what we know for sure and what we simply believe.”—New York Times Book Review

Myths are usually seen as stories from the depths of time—fun and fantastical, but no longer believed by anyone. Yet, as Philip Ball shows, we are still writing them—and still living them—today. From Robinson Crusoe and Frankenstein to Batman, many stories written in the past few centuries are commonly, perhaps glibly, called “modern myths.” But Ball argues that we should take that idea seriously. Our stories of Dracula, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, and Sherlock Holmes are doing the kind of cultural work that the ancient myths once did. Through the medium of narratives that all of us know in their basic outline and which have no clear moral or resolution, these modern myths explore some of our deepest fears, dreams, and anxieties. We keep returning to these tales, reinventing them endlessly for new uses. But what are they really about, and why do we need them? What myths are still taking shape today? And what makes a story become a modern myth?

In The Modern Myths, Ball takes us on a wide-ranging tour of our collective imagination, asking what some of its most popular stories reveal about the nature of being human in the modern age.

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LibraryThing Review

Avis d'utilisateur  - valkyrdeath - LibraryThing

This book aims to look at stories that the author feels have taken on the same function as myths in the ancient world, covering seven stories ranging from Robinson Crusoe to Batman, via Frankenstein ... Consulter l'avis complet

LibraryThing Review

Avis d'utilisateur  - MHThaung - LibraryThing

I thank the publishers for a free copy of this book. This is my honest review. This was a very readable exploration of literature from the 19th and 20th century which the author argues contain ... Consulter l'avis complet

Table des matières

1 How can a Myth be Modern?
Robinson Cusoe 1719
Frankenstein 1818
The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde 1886
Dracula 1897
The War of the Worlds 1897
The Sherlock Homes stories 18871927
Batman 1939
9 Myths in the Making Myths to Come
10 The Mythic Mode
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À propos de l'auteur (2021)

Philip Ball is a freelance writer and broadcaster, and was an editor at Nature for more than twenty years. He writes regularly in the scientific and popular media and has written many books on the interactions of the sciences, the arts, and wider culture, including H2O: A Biography of Water, Bright Earth: The Invention of Colour, The Music Instinct, and Curiosity: How Science Became Interested in Everything. His book Critical Mass won the 2005 Aventis Prize for Science Books. Ball is also a presenter of Science Stories, the BBC Radio 4 series on the history of science. He trained as a chemist at the University of Oxford and as a physicist at the University of Bristol. He is the author, most recently, of How to Grow a Human: Adventures in How We Are Made and Who We Are, also published by the University of Chicago Press. He lives in London.

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