Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Age of Fable” as Want to Read:
The Age of Fable
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Age of Fable

3.93  ·  Rating Details ·  1,948 Ratings  ·  137 Reviews
This book remains one of the cornerstones of mythological scholarship, reprinting scores of myths, legends, and fables drawn from the ancient world.
Paperback, 436 pages
Published September 23rd 2007 by Wildside Press (first published 1855)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.
This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Jan 29, 2010 Pollopicu rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I thought the Age of Fable would be better than Edith Hamilton's "Mythology". Not that her book was anything to write home about.. but at least I was able to absorb more about subject of Mythology than I was with Bulfinche's summary. He seemed to gloss over the legends, but it felt like it took me ages to finish this book. Another thing that threw me off was his preference in using the Latin/Roman version of the names which I initially learned in Greek. A quarter into the book I was too lazy to ...more
Chris Brimmer
I think a lot of people miss the purpose of the volume. This is a 19th century course on classics taught in a very classical way. When poetry or other literature based on the mythology discussed is quoted you should pull the work up and read the whole thing. This is of course much easier to do now with the internet then when the volume was first written when this would have been a library course. This makes for a very slow but very rewarding reading effort. I plan to read the other two volumes b ...more
Aug 01, 2009 Gary rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It seems like I should have read this a long time ago, and perhaps I did. I started reading this (again?) last summer as we prepared to go to Italy/Greece with a BYU summer Study Abroad group. Now I'm finally finishing it.

Bear in mind that this book was written in 1859. For this time period, it is a remarkable bit of scholarship made accessible to the general public. But because it is 150 years old, the style may feel a little dry to contemporary readers. Also, those with a scholarly interest m
Sep 12, 2016 Dayla rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is exactly what I thought about this book that took FOREVER to get through:

Jan 03, 2012
Rainboe Sims-Jones

The Age of Fable contains brief summaries of major and minor characters in Greek, Roman Norse mythology. Sometimes the characters briefings have enough supplemental story to make sense, but more often the book reads like a scattered puzzle: most of the entries are disjointed and out of context making it difficult to understand the whole picture. The text is often cross-referenced with e
Classic, well written, informative, beautifully researched, and with careful and delicious verbosity which tends to add to rather than detract from the subject matter. It's a very fine reference guide for people who already have a pretty good handle on Greek Mythology, and a pretty good guide for those who do not.

Look, there are better book out there. Even better books in this specific category; but I really think Bulfinch's Mythology, of which this book is a part, is something everyone should o
Apr 20, 2011 Adam rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics
Bulfinch's Mythology, Thomas Bulfinch

The book serves as an excellent reference and beginner's guide to mythology. It has guided me through multiple courses in college, from beginner's level Latin, to graduate level philosophy and political science. I highly suggest the Kindle version. It is for free and easy to quote through the computer program, which is also for free. The search function on both the computer program and the Kindle itself is also very helpful, and will get you all of the inform
May 26, 2013 Carly rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: folklore, classics
**edited 12/15/13

No matter what other versions of the Greek myths you've read, there's a certain quaint charm to Bullfinch's take on the stories. Written in the 1850s, the book opens with a forward in which Bullfinch attempts to argue the value of mythology. He notes that without some background in mythology, the allusions of the famous poets will simply whizz over a reader's head, and also adds that despite its pagan beginnings, mythology contains pure and valuable moral lessons. He then procee
Gabriella Vieira
Sobre uma das leituras mais longas da minha vida, rs. Por vezes extremamente tediosa, mas que no fim foi de grande valia: é um livro ríquissimo que agregou muito conhecimento! <3
Mike (the Paladin)
Couldn't find the exact edition I have, went with date.

This is a good intro to the classical myths of Greek and Roman lenage. It's possible some of this may be familiar to some and some will be new. Nice book.
Aug 13, 2015 Guguk rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: martabak-telor
Kumpulan berbagai mitologi & kepercayaan, dirangkum dari berbagai sumber~
Yang paling banyak sih mitologi Yunani, dan ada lumayan mitologi Norse. Yang kepercayaan lainnya dibahas dikit-dikit ^ ^
Abis baca ini jadi pengen "berburu" karya Ovid (^..^)
Hann Remraf
i didn't really finish it, but my curriculum no longer requires me to read it. *finally*
John Bohnert
Many of the Roman myths remind me fondly of my Latin I and Latin II classes in high school.
Most of the book is about classical myths of Greece, but the last chapters have some information about those of Ancient Egypt, India, Northern Europe.
Jun 27, 2017 Spiegel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Outro livro que li até caírem as páginas (minha edição era mais antiga que essa, mas era da Ediouro também).
Dec 26, 2010 Laura rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own, 2011
Review em português aqui.

The Age of Fable, by Thomas Bulfinch, is a work that aims to, in the authors words (translated from the portuguese by me), "popularize mythology and expand the pleasure of reading". If he succeeds in this, I don't know, but I believe it's possible to extend the pleasure of reading.
Bulfinch explains, in a very succinct and direct way, the story of many entities (such as Jupiter, Achilles, Odysseus, Aeneas, and others) and relevant events (such as the Trojan War, for examp
Mar 08, 2017 Juwan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
im not really that much into the book but I'm in a part where i can explain whats happening and the book is mainly about explaining who and what the gods are, right now I'm learning about the most famous greek god Zeus and who he is and his life, and thats where i am at my book.

in my book right now I'm on page 81 and I'm learning about Cupid and who he is (which i already know who he is) and what he does which i think everyone knows who he is and what he does. Right now I'm learning what he did
Bulfinch’s The Age of Fable is an interesting novel. It summarizes a lot of Greek and Roman myths and other stories from pagan religions that are known to us nowadays through videogame, book, TV-series and movies. The past years the heroes of ancient times have been extensively reinvigorated. Troy (2004) for example gives an account of the Trojan War; Clash of the Titans (2010) is (loosely) based on the adventures of Perseus; and Thor (2011) is based on its namesake-hero of Northern mythology. T ...more
Lis Katrine Albers
Review of
The Age of Fable
Seeing as this is a work of old myths and beliefs, and therefore not exactly the kind of book I normally read, I had a hard time, finding out, whether I liked this book or not. At some places, it was incredibly boring, but in others it was incredibly interesting. Thomas Bulfinch does a good job telling these stories and legends in the correct order, so the reader is at no point in doubt of which events there has just been told.
Some readers, myself included, will have a
Dec 18, 2016 Tony rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
THE AGE OF FABLE. (1859). Thomas Bulfinch. ****.
Bulfinch wrote three books which explored the nature and content of myth, this one in 1859, the second being “The Age of Chivalry,” covering the world, mostly, of English myth, including King Arthur and his Knights, that volume also includes a summary of the Mabinogeon, and, finally, a third volume entitled “The Legends of Charlemagne.” This first study covers mostly the Greek and Roman myths, but the author also touches on bits of Indian and Egypt
Bulfinch, Thomas
Bulfinch's Mythology

In compilation only.

1) Introduction
2) Prometheus and Pandora
3) Apollo and Daphne; Pyramus and Thisbe; Cephalus and Procris
4) Juno and her Rivals, Io and Callisto; Diana and Actaeon; Latona and the Rustics
5) Phaeton
6) Midas; Baucis and Philemon
7) Proserpine; Claucus and Scylla
8) Pygmalion; Dryope; Venus and Adonis; Apollo and Hyacinthus
9) Ceyx and Halcyone
10) Vertumnus and Pomona; Iphis and Anaxarete
11) Cupid and Psyche
12) Cadmus; The Myrmidons
13) Nisus and Scy
Jul 15, 2016 M rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mythology
I think it's safe to say that overall this is an okay book. Certainly, it's not a terrible refresher course on Greek myth, although these days anybody who really wants to learn about Classical Mythology can easily check Wikipedia or read any of the better books that have come since. For me, there are two main problems with Bulfinch. First, he censors his accounts, especially in regards to any and all sexual content. Thus, there's no mention of Aphrodite arising from the castration of Uranus or v ...more
Jenny Maloney
Bulfinch likes the word 'propritious' least that's the word that stuck out the most to me as I listened to the narrator. Also 'thither'--such an old word that it seemed really forced, even with the knowledge that the book was written Back in the Day.

However, as far as getting across the stories of the myths of Ancient Greece, and The Northern (read: Norse) Mythologies, he does a fairly accurate--and sometimes painfully detailed--job. All of the old favorites are there, though I did get conf
Nathan Dehoff
Mar 29, 2016 Nathan Dehoff rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Published in 1867, soon after the author's death, I know I read at least part of this volume when I was a kid. It's not the most thorough overview of Greco-Roman mythology, but it presents the stories in an accessible and enjoyable format. In addition, there are bits of poems and literature that reference these tales. It is somewhat oddly organized, as it's mostly about Greek and Roman mythology (Bulfinch does explain some of the differences between the two, but mostly ignores them and calls the ...more
I found this book (actually, it was the whole Bulfinch's Mythology, but I never brought myself to plow through Charlemagne and King Arthur, so I can't honestly review all three sections) at my grandparents' house when I was, um, maybe nine--I've been a Greek geek for about as long as I've known how to read. My little heart nearly exploded when Grandpa said I could have it. (Of course, I realize now that he probably hasn't ever missed it, but I still remember that wide-eyed joy of possession when ...more
Jul 29, 2012 Ray rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Bulfinch's "The Age of Fable" is a compendium of mythology, and more complete than I would have ever imagined. But it read more like an encyclopedic description of the various gods rather than the telling of the original stories. That is, it was more a description of the original stories rather than the original legends themselves.
In describing the various gods, Bulfinch made frequent references to various works of classical literature and poetry which include references to the Greek and Roman
Jun 01, 2010 Jake rated it really liked it
I picked up this compendium of mythology and couldn't set it down. It was split into 2 books so I have just read the first half of it. It tells all the stories from Greek mythology in the first book, and from what I understand covers other myths from other countries in the second book. The main thing I got out of this book is there is truly no new thing under the sun. After reading story after story I realized that so many famous works of literature were based on or were variations of these many ...more
Ivan Benedict
My reading consisted of just vol. IV. This is
a book subtitled "Legends of Charlemagne". All
stories are related to that emperor located in
Paris. There is some reference to the history
of the time, but the book is largely fantasy.
There are battles and jousts, there are enchanted
swords, castles and fountains. There are flying
horses, a sea monster, a dwarf, and even short
contacts with Merlin & Morgana. Note this is material
published in 1913. Some characters continue through
the stories, especial
Kobe Lin
Apr 18, 2013 Kobe Lin rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I think that Richard P. Martin did a very good job of putting many different myths together into one book. In each section, there is a main theme. For example, in Apollo and Daphne, Pyramus and Thisbe, and Cephalus and Procris, they all are myths about love. Richard P. Martin does a great job deciding what myths go in which theme section. In the intros, they are mainly talking about what the myth or myths will be about. In Prometheus and Pandora, its intro is talking about the creation of Earth. ...more
Rainboe Sims-Jones
The Age of Fable contains brief summaries of major and minor characters in Greek, Roman Norse mythology. Sometimes the characters briefings have enough supplemental story to make sense, but more often the book reads like a scattered puzzle: most of the entries are disjointed and out of context making it difficult to understand the whole picture. The text is often cross-referenced with excerpts from literature or poems in which the subject is discussed. The book was clearly well researched and th ...more
Oct 05, 2011 Scott rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This has been my upstairs bathroom reading for probably a year. It has been enjoyable to refresh one's memory on various mythological stories and fables and learn a few new things.

The book is very dated. It eliminates (and announces this at the beginning) anything that is morally problematic for the author and the intended audience. Pretty much all the gay stuff disappeared then.

The book also presents itself as an aid in understanding modern poetic allusions to the ancient myths. On the one hand
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Greek myths 1 3 Feb 04, 2013 05:01PM  
  • New Larousse Encyclopedia of Mythology
  • The World of the Short Story: A Twentieth Century Collection
  • A Tangled Tale
  • Classical Mythology: A Very Short Introduction
  • Tanglewood Tales: A Wonder-Book for Girls and Boys
  • Roads of Destiny
  • The Philosopher's Handbook: Essential Readings from Plato to Kant
  • Cligès
  • Myths & Legends of the British Isles
  • A Dictionary of Superstitions
  • Great Detectives: A Century of the Best Mysteries from England and America
  • Poetical Works
  • 100 Characters from Classical Mythology: Discover the Fascinating Stories of the Greek and Roman Deities
  • Don't Open This Book
  • Gisli Sursson's Saga and the Saga of the People of Eyri
  • The Teachings of the Compassionate Buddha
  • The Unabridged Mark Twain
  • The Fantasy Worlds of Peter Beagle

Share This Book

“There is another deity who is described as the calumniator of the gods and the contriver of all fraud and mischief. His name is Loki. He is handsome and well made, but of a very fickle mood and most evil disposition. He is of the giant race, but forced himself into the company of the gods, and seems to take pleasure in bringing them into difficulties, and in extricating them out of the danger by his cunning, wit, and skill.” 1 likes
More quotes…