The Gods of the Greeks

The Gods of the Greeks

The Gods of the Greeks

The Gods of the Greeks

Excerpt

This book owes its origin to the conviction, shared by the publishers and the author, that the time has come to write a Mythology of the Greeks for adults: that is to say, not only for specialists concerned with classical studies, with the history of religion, or with ethnology; still less for children, for whom in the past the classical myths were either remodelled or, at least, carefully selected so as to accord with the viewpoints of a traditional education; but simply for adults whose primary interest--which may entail an interest in any of the branches of learning mentioned above--is in the study of human beings. The contemporary form that this interest takes is, of course, an interest in psychology. And, as a great exponent of modern humanistic thought has admitted, it is precisely psychology that "contains within itself an interest in myth, just as all creative writing contains within itself an interest in psychology".

These words were spoken in 1936 by Thomas Mann in his. lecture on "Freud and the future". Whilst paying tribute to the services rendered by the psychologist of the Unconscious, of the deeper levels of the soul, the great writer did, in fact, look beyond him into the future. He depicted with unsur passable clarity the spiritual situation in which the author of this book, for his part, finds justification for his mythological work. Psychology's thrusting back into the childhood of the individual soul is, to quote his words,

"at the same time a thrusting back into the childhood of mankind--into the primitive and the mythical. Freud himself recognised that all natural science, medicine and psychotherapy had been for him a life-long and tortuous return to his primary youthful passion for the history of man, for the origins of religion and morals. The association of the words 'psychology' and 'deeper levels' has also a chronological significance: the depths of the human soul . . .

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