Myths of the Greeks: The Origins of Mythology in the Works of Edith Hamilton and Robert Graves
This paper concerns two popular myth collections that date from the mid-twentieth century: Edith Hamilton’s Mythology, ﬁrst published in 1940, and Robert Graves’ The Greek Myths, ﬁrst published in 1955. The dates of these collections mean that they are close enough to us that they are still considered current: both are still widely read, and are both are still in print, in an interesting variety of editions. But they are also far enough away from us that we can identify with some precision the ways in which they are shaped by the preoccupations of their period. In particular, both now reveal themselves as over-reactions, although in opposite directions, to the early twentieth century rediscovery of classical culture, especially Greek culture, as primitive, as comparable to the traditional cultures studied by anthropologists.