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African Myths of Origin

3.71 of 5 stars 3.71  ·  rating details  ·  42 ratings  ·  5 reviews
Gathering a wide range of traditional African myths, this compelling new collection offers tales of heroes battling mighty serpents and monstrous birds, brutal family conflict and vengeance, and desperate migrations across vast and alien lands. From accounts of the inventive wiles of animal-creators and a community forced to flee a giant crocodile to the heroic story of th ...more
Paperback, 511 pages
Published June 27th 2006 by Penguin Classics (first published January 1st 2005)
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Edward Butler
This little book covers a surprising amount of territory, doing what would seem impossible, namely giving some sense of the pulse of a continent. It does so by limiting its scope to myths of "origin", either cosmic or social. The narratives are presented without commentary or adornment.

My only complaint is that one is often left to wonder why one culture is represented with a cosmogonic myth, another by a myth of socio-political origins. I suspect this is because there may not have been an engag
good starting point for African myths, I now have a better idea of which specific mythology I want to delve into more deeply.
This is a broad collection of African myths, but it's focus is really on representing the myths from as much of the continent as possible rather than presenting any given myth in the best literary form. It's enjoyable as an overall survey and comparison of the different stories that are told throughout Africa, but it's not the greatest source of well told myths.

It does however serve as an excellent resource for anyone interested in the subject, both by providing enough information to give a stro
Hmm...a fine translation...the stories are good, a lot of killing in here. Some stories are a bit repetitive and it took me a long time just to get through less than half. I suppose the Trickster stories were my favorite, because I always enjoy a good rogue-character who thinks his way around obstacles...though again, these are pretty bloodthirsty for the most part. I don't think I'll wind up finishing the book.
It seems I'll always be reading this books as it is among the few that reside in near permanence on my night stand. Am particularly fond of the "trickster" tales.
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