This work does its best to discredit original folklore and mythologies by claiming they were naught but a bad influence on the later 'purified,' Christianized versions so heavily employed by the Church to lure a more pagan following into the pews. In fact, the author asserts their influence should have been purged from the Church, that it would have been better they be forgotten than their heathen origins taint an innocent flock. Barf.I know it's from the 1890s, I get that. But everything about [...]
It's my fault for not paying attention- my dumb ass thought these were literally a selection of Medieval myths. But no. This is a religious (Christian) analysis of said myths. I tried to read it anyway; but no dice for me.
Baring-Gould collects in one place many of the myths of Medieval England, which are likely uncommon to many contemporary readers, although some remain familiar (i.e. William Tell). Baring-Gould does an excellent job of relating these stories to the extant mythology from many ancient cultures and as such draws into question the historical veracity. I found however that his eagerness to dispel the legitimacy of the myths was high strung and almost fervent. He is so convinced himself that he leaves [...]
Really very interesting. There are parts that are very obviously written from the Victorian point of view, which made me wonder how much of that interpretation was still worthwhile. However, I did get to read about a bunch of myths I'd never heard of before, and the parallels drawn between "Jack and Jill went up the hill" and Nordic myths about children in the moon and the phases of the moon were fascinating.
Seemed to be have a lot of research behind it. However, it was more a history of the myths than simply their telling. Interesting how the medieval myths were such a strange conglomeration of Christian beliefs and pagan superstition.
No, I didn't actually finish this. It's an interesting book, nonetheless. It's basically an examination of the various myths and legends found in Europe during the Middle Ages. Baring-Gould traces the origin of a myth and compares the various versions of the same basic myth. I enjoyed the ones that I did read. Unfortunately I had to return it to the library and did not feel compelled to borrow it again in order to finish.
Fantastic read by a pioneering British folklorist (who was also an incredibly interesting guy -- look him up). The book came out in 1866, so its interpretation of medieval folklore isn't the final word, but nobody beats this guy for style. Reads like a velvet fist to the face. Charming stuff from a born storyteller.
On the day I received my exam results I visited Bath with the aim of buying myself a piece of jewellery, something I do on every significant day. This didn't work out so well with the woman in the jewellery shop being rather rude and me walking out empty handed. However, this did mean I had some extra time, and money, which was put to good use in the local Oxfam second hand bookshop.I will admit that I bought this book because of the pictures. Call me fickle if you like but since I received an i [...]
Fascinating, if dated, look at some myths and legends, some very well known and some very obscure. B-G tries to find traces of the legends in earlier myths and fragments, showing off his vast erudition. A few of his conclusions are rather bizarre (he infamously claims that Methodism is a revival of Druidism) and he makes a lot of speculation to help fill in the connections between possibly connected legends. One example that really stood out was in his analysis of the story of the Bishop Hatto, [...]
I think 19th century non-fiction books of this stripe are something of an acquired taste, as it takes a while to cut through the blatant lack of objectivity, endless references to others texts, and menacing blocks of untranslated Latin to get to the actual information. Still, as far as ponderous Victorian books on folklore go, Baring-Gould is honestly more entertaining than his competition. Each chapter of Curious Myths of the Middle Ages generally begins with a solid piece of folklore and then [...]
If you can manage the sometimes ponderous writing style, this is a very interesting look at some widespread European legends. Some are well-known (William Tell, The Sangreal), others less so (Bishop Hatto). Whatever the case, the back-stories and legend parallel are often really intriguing, although I'm not sure we can be quite so conclusive these days about the symbolism etc.A common theme is the "pagan" roots of many a supposedly pure "Christian" fable or person. Although Baring-Gould sometime [...]
If you first take into account that this book was written in 1867 and that some views about people of certain regions and religions are going to not be 100%, then you'll probably be fine with everything else in this book.Each chapter follows a similar formula: a telling of the traditional or most common version of that story followed by a general analysis of the story and ending with similar stories in either events or themes from other cultures or geographical regions.That's what I liked about [...]
A useful compendium of mediaeval folklore, from the Victorian perspective. As was the academic fashion of the day, several mythological figures are passed off as devolved sun gods, and there are some quaint attempts to convict Methodists of practicing Druidism. The author was an early proponent of what might be called "the pick-and-choose school" of myth interpretation, still, alas, with us, in which handy bits of tradition from widely divergent cultures are pulled together to 'prove' that a par [...]
I am glad I got this book for free. It has to be read with discernment. Maybe this should be adult reading??Oh can we say antisemitism, aryan countries and the fatherland ? Umm later history shows where this kind of thinking led the world. It was interesting to see how people thought back when this was written. But I despaired a little to see that some of these attitudes are still in our institutions. I guess that was the most interesting part of this history and if I compare it to what we know [...]
I think I read a different edition to this, because I read it on my Kindle and the hard copy I got in the mail seems more like an abridged copy for kids. The one I read had plenty of notes and sometimes long lists of references. The hard copy, which is the same amount of pages as this copy while my Kindle edition has around one hundred more, seems greatly lacking in those things. It feels stripped down to the basic stories of the myths and nothing more, while the copy I read explains the myths a [...]
c1866. I have read several non-fiction books by Victorian authors and they all seem to quote whole paragraphs from their reference sources in the original version. This predilection does not make for easy reading at all. 24 myths are covered in all ranging from The Wandering Jew to The Piper of Hameln (sic). The piper is no other than the wind, and ancients held that in the wind were the souls of the dead.'. Charming!
I was interested in this book because it was written by a real character in "The Moor", one of the Mary Russell/Sherlock Holmes mysteries I enjoyed. I also was interested in reading about Pope Joan, another recent book I enjoyed. Baring-Gould thinks Pope Joan is pure fiction, but he was also a priest! It was interesting to hear how some myths began, such as the Man in the Moon, the Wandering Jew and others.
Although the book does focus on myths, legends and folktakes that were popular in the Middle Ages, the author also delves into their probable origins in earlier periods and also refers to similar stories in other cultures with no (or lost in antiquity) connection to Medieval Europe. I only give this a "2" as I felt that the writing was erratic from section to section. Some were quite readable and others painful to slog through.
Somewhat interesting, although I still cannot understand what the chapter on number coincidences had to do with the theme of the book. Most of the coincidences cited were hardly Middle Ages (1700-1800's?) and I could not see any mythological themes. I suspect it was just filler.I agree with other readers who found the author to be preachy at times, rather than objectively presenting common myths without editorializing.
This really isn't much of a scholarly book, and so it doesn't go too in-depth on the tales that it talks about. Each section is a bit of the myth, possible other places it pops up in history, and then occasionally the author's view on its validity. In other words, don't go into this one if you're wanting to learn a lot of information. It's an interesting (and quick) little read though, and a good starting place for further research.
Some interesting reading and food for thought, the only detraction is that some sections have a few pieces in latin and french with no translation supplied. However if you enjoy a bit of history, a bit of conniving, and want to see where some of the basis of certain fairy tales originate, then this would be an enjoyable read.
A sideways look into popular myths that have survived time and reality. You know early that you are in the midst of fantasy, but there is a certain charm that runs through the whole. This book promises nothing as to fact or trancendant study, so I see no reason to feel let down in its wandering.Enjoyed the sections on Prester John, William Tell and The Wandering Jew in particular.
I was hoping to read some cool stories that I hadn't heard before, but instead of sharing the stories, the author spent the entire book sharing resource material and discussing historical writings about the myths. What a bore!
Fell short of expectationsFor reasons I cannot understand, I found this book a disappointment. Whether it was more myths, more detail, or more interpretation, I just kept thinking that something was missing.