Title: U.X. L Encyclopedia of World Mythology
Publisher: Gale Cengage Learning
This one is a bit outside my normal wheelhouse for reviews, but the last week, I’ve read the collection of encyclopedias and little else. In my local library, these were the only multi-cultural texts on mythology, and still – Greek, Roman, Egyptian, and Norse stole the show. There was a number of Mesoamerican myths included. A sprinkling of African too, but either I know a ridiculous amount about different mythologies or these books weren’t nearly as worldly as their series title suggests. And I’m not arrogant enough to believe the former.
Greek took 1st place. Not surprising considering the rest of the mythology shelves had book after book on each individual myth let alone the whole pantheon. Roman and Egypt came close – perhaps tied for second, and there was a clear thematic argument against idealization and beauty. Some of these themes connected with their modern day counterparts (Pygmalian and My Fair Lady). If you’ve never studied mythology before, this text is useful. If you’re looking to find a few monsters in myths you’ve never read, I’d say your luck will depend on how widely read you are outside of the pantheons I’ve already mentioned.
Most Native American information included in these books are creation myths. Monsters aren’t so much included. For some cultures, these books narrow the field to a single entry to describe the full pantheon.
For my usage, this was extremely disappointing. For a general collection of mainly well-know myths, not so bad.