The deep-seated origins and wide-reaching lessons of ancient myths built the foundation for our modern legacies. Explore the mythologies of Europe, the Americas, Asia, Africa, and the Middle East. Learn what makes these stories so important, distinctive, and able to withstand the test of time. Discover how, despite geographical implausibilities, many myths from across the oceans share themes, morals, and archetypes.PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your Library section along with the audio.
PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your Library section along with the audio.
©2015 The Great Courses (P)2015 The Teaching Company, LLC
This audiobook is a great overview of world mythology. It contains lectures (of around 30-40 minutes long) on mythology from Greece, Rome, The Norse, The Bible, Egypt, Celtic Ireland, The Middle East, The Far East, Africa and The Americas.
Prior to this course I knew very little about mythology. I am keen to learn more about mythology and religion at the moment because I want to increase my mythological and religious literacy so that I am better placed to appreciate some of the great works of world literature. I have learnt much from this course. I particularly enjoyed learning about Western mythology because I mostly read Western Literature. I also enjoyed learning about the similarities and differences between one culture and another.
I have listened to 30ish different courses from The Great Courses now, and my favorite courses multiple times. I don't like to be a hater but the lecturer on African Mythology really seemed out of his depth (I honestly wondered if he was standing in for someone else). The other professors spoke confidently, as though they were talking to a group without any notes, yet still managing to be methodical and enthralling. Professor Bailey was obviously reading word for word from a script. He constantly got words mixed up and his regular mid-clause pauses were very off-putting.
Additionally, the structure of the African lectures was poor; whereas the other professors expanded of the myths by giving historical, political and cultural contexts and exploring the possible interpretations and the implications of the myths, Professor Bailey seemed to change the subject every 2 minutes, seemingly hellbent on getting through all of the African Myths ever created with far too little time for building the context, interpretation, and the impact the myth had on the various cultures of Africa. Consequently, after the third or forth lecture from him, I had to hop over to The Far East.
I still got about a days worth of good lectures, and overall I am happy with that. If you want to learn more about the various heroes, ancient gods and how the various ancient peoples of the world came up with explanations for the big questions then this is for you.
Insightful, hilarious and wonderful. Worth the money. Some of the narration could be a bit better but the content and expertise more than make up for it.
The stories themselves are fascinating, the links and consistencies across cultures are amazing to hear. Having said that, some of the lecturers are definitely more adept at public speaking than others, but it would be harsh to expect one person to be able to deliver the full thing!
The best part about this course is that it covers a very wide range of mythology, and if gives you the chance to see connections between all these different areas and times yourself. I also like how they don't try to push aspects of myths into standard categories, instead they give open look into myth.
The musical introduction part between the different chapters is very annoying, and enormously sensational. I really can't see why this is necessary, as it doesn't suit the rest of the content. Another reason why I didn't like the way in which the information is brought to you, is the connections made to popular culture. It felt childish, and as someone who doesn't really like the whole celebrity culture, I often didn't even know what they were talking about. Perhaps this is good for young children, but not for young adults and adults. Also the tone of speaking is quite childish, but perhaps I saw the great courses wrongly as meant for adults.
Myths are very interesting and narrators are excellent except Prof J H Bailey who's style and/or at least his voice make it difficult to remain interested in listening to his chapters.
Would have given it 5 stars if another narrator did those chapters.
"Three Fantastic Lecturers, + one iffy one."
Multi-lecturer courses are always prone to fluctuations in quality… But 3 out of 4 ain't bad!
Kathryn McClymond covers the myths of ancient Europe, the Middle East, and South Asia. Her lectures are fantastic, offering a good balance of storytelling and interpretation. She tells the stories, then uses them to construct a coherent cosmology of each culture, so you get a sense of their view of the real world and of the cosmos. It's also nice to have a woman's perspective on this stuff; history is still so male dominated, and she calls due attention to the sexism inherent in a lot of the myths, and what it says about the relevant culture.
After her, Julius Bailey, who covers African myths, is a letdown. African myth is a huge subject, so his task is difficult. But he chooses to organize his myths by topic, NOT by culture, so it's impossible to get that sense of a coherent cosmology for any one culture. He's also not a good orator; he trips over the emphasis of every third sentence.
Andre LaFleur's lectures on Asian and Pacific myths picks things right up again though. He provides a good balance of story and interpretation, and he steers clear of the typical pitfalls of a white guy teaching "foreign" cultures -- avoiding essentialism, or romanticizing the role of Westerners in documenting the material, for instance.
Grant Voth's lectures on Native American myths are some of the best of the pack, even though -- according to his CV in the PDF -- he doesn't seem to have any formal experience with the topic. His task is like Bailey's, but he organizes his lectures by broad regions wherein there is a common mythic tradition (with variations), and so it's possible to get a sense of each culture -- or family of cultures, if you will -- and their cosmology.
All in all, I recommend it -- you're bound to learn a lot.
It is very much a necessary listen for anyone who would like to learn about current story trends.
It would be impossible to isolate a favorite character.
There are multiple narrators, at times I wish they would have stopped the African myths narrator and had him start over or simply edit his nervous stuttering out, but all in all a fantastic group of storytellers!
I enjoy the segments having complete introductions so that stories don't blur together.
Anyone can enjoy this book and share the stories with their family.
I loved this great course! In Particular, African and Native American myths were fantastic as I was less familiar with these. There are layers here, and avenues to better understand who we are and why we think the way we do.
The material was interesting, but one of the lecturers (the second one, lecturing on the myths of Africa) was so difficult to listen to I almost abandoned the whole lecture.
Diverse and entertaining, informative, and easy to listen to. I would recommend it to anyone who wishes to study the subject.
"I Learned So Much"
We all know the Greek and Egyptian stories, but the amount of new Native American, African, and Mezo-American, just to list a few, that I had no clue about, was truly great and refreshing.
The sections on European, Asian, and Native American mys were awesome. I could tell that the scholars had really spent a significant amount of time to organize the lectures into a cohesive and comprehensible course. The section on African myths needs development - I liked what I learned of the stories, themselves, but the course was significantly lacking in organization and attempting to connect the themes into larger issues of relevance. my favorite section was on Native American myths. It was obvious that the scholar had spent a lifetime researching and teaching these stories. The way these were presented stands in marked contrast to the these-are-some-cool-things-I've learned-about approach of the African myths.
"Great mythologies by great professors"
I found this volume very informative and entertaining. The only issue is a minor one, and that it doesn't explain where each mythological character stands among their own mythology, pantheon, or bestiary. This is easily solved by buying specific courses for mythologies that catch your interest.
"Uneven due to different lecturers."
Appreciated the in depth knowledge of the professors and in general their delivery and presentation. There is not enough material or rather differences between the mythologies of the various African countries to have spent so much time on them. It became repetitive and boring.
Obviously the myths are most interesting. Least interesting is too subjective to present with any validity.
Cannot accurately rate
Yes generally it was, with exception of African lectures - but only due to repetitive nature
"Great Stories and Analysis"
This is one my my favorites.
I think that I like the African Myths the best because they were so enjoyable to listen to and the professor was dedicated the stories.
I really like this great course but I had one issue with Professor Kathryn McClymond. She was teaching very well about the Greeks, Romans, etc but she kept mentioning the sexist nature of the ancients. It didn't contribute to the story or the analysis and was very distracting. I didn't mind the first time but she did it multiple times.
The other professors were great too and would also mention the racist or sexist natures in the mythology they discussed but she did it like the ancients were insulting her personally.
Still a great listen. Sorry about the rant.
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