Leeming illustrates the various stages or rites of passage of the mythic universal hero, from birth to childhood, through trial and quest, death, descent, rebirth, and ascension. The arrangement of texts by themes such as "Childhood, Initiation and Divine Signs," "The Descent to the Underworld," and "Resurrection and Rebirth" strip mythic characters of their many national and cultural "masks" to reveal their archetypal aspects. Real figures, including Jesus and Mohammed, are also included underlining the theory that myths are real and can be applied to real life. This edition is updated to include additional heroine myths, as well as Navajo, Indonesian, Indian, Chinese, and African tales.
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