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This course is an excellent introduction and overview of world mythology. It covers a lot of ground, and does it well. While I would recommend it to anyone, I need to add the following caveats:
Because it covers so much ground, it moves as a very brisk speed, and in some cases I would have preferred to get more depth (for example, more detail on some of the hero myths, and more discussion of the psychological interpretation of myth, a la Rank, Jung and Campbell). Dr. Voth did a really good job of covering the material, but there's enough here for two or even three lecture series.
Second, I found my interest waning slightly in during the latter part of the course. This may have been because (while he never says so) Prof. Voth seems to be suggesting a kind of monomyth for trickster myths (similar to the monomyth of the hero). While I thought the argument and evidence presented for the hero monomyth was compelling, it seemed that the trickster myths were much more diverse (hard to see an parallel between the Norse Loki and the African Anansi as presented here, for example).
Still, the course material was very engaging, and I will definitely be broadening my study of mythology as a result.
19 of 19 people found this review helpful
This is an eclectically organized analysis of myths from around the world, focusing on patterns which come up in all myths, regardless of location. Voth speaks about creation myths, tricksters, heroes and heroines, destruction myths, and how we can look at all these patterns to see some basic truths about ourselves as humans.
I learned a great deal from this series of lectures, though it left me feeling a bit frustrated. Voth, by focusing on the analytical side and on the patterns of myth, did not have time to tell the myths in their entirety. As such, I am ready to devour books upon books telling the actual stories that he merely touched upon.
I definitely do recommend this course for anyone who knows little of world mythology and is curious to learn more, or wants some direction to go for their research.
10 of 10 people found this review helpful
What did you like best about this story?
It's not a story, but a series of lectures about how humans have used myths to explain things they couldn't understand. You have to engage brain in order to appreciate it, but it is well worth the effort.
What about Professor Grant L. Voth’s performance did you like?
He has a lively style and is a good, listenable lecturer.
Any additional comments?
The only reason it didn't get full marks was that the man who introduces each lecture shouts in the most annoying way!!
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
The thematic structure makes this course unnecessarily complex and difficult to follow.
I would have preferred it if the course covered all of the themes upfront and in detail and then when through each set of myths or cultures as a collective. This would give the listener more time to become familiar with the characters and more cultural specific elements of each myth or set of myths. Of course while going through each "set" of myths by region or culture the lecturer could make reference to the themes (or analytical tools) referred to at the beginning.
Unfortunately of the 25 or so Great Courses that I have completely (several more than once) this is the most difficult to follow, not because of its content, but because of its structure.