The Seven Story Tower: A Mythic Journey through Space and Time

The Seven Story Tower: A Mythic Journey through Space and Time

The Seven Story Tower: A Mythic Journey through Space and Time

The Seven Story Tower: A Mythic Journey through Space and Time

Synopsis

From the white stag to the green knight, The Seven Story Tower examines how myth colors our perception of history, nature, and ourselves. Organized around seven key myths -- representing the Irish, Greek, Sumerian, Indonesian, Amazonian, and Inuit cultures, as well as the fantasy world of J.R.R. Tolkien -- this book is the perfect introduction to the common themes found in world mythology. Curtiss Hoffman, a noted archaeologist and anthropologist, takes us beyond the entertaining stories and uses insights from cultural anthropology and analytical psychology to analyze the many common themes found throughout. In particular, he examines the significance of names, numbers, plants, animals, the heavenly bodies, and the human body. The Seven Story Tower will enhance the reader's appreciation of myth's power today over our lives and cultures.

Excerpt

While I was reading The Seven Story Tower in manuscript, I tried to describe its unusual quality to a friend, who remarked, "It sounds more like an experience than a book." I agreed, but then felt even more acutely the difficulty of introducing this beguiling and involving book. Its form and content are particularly inextricable.

The author takes his title from the image of a tower in which the ascending person sees views of increasing complexity and significance through the windows.

But I was looking for a supplementary overall metaphor -- something organic, lush, proliferating, bizarre, but not ultimately chaotic. I had in mind Hoffman's remark that we resist letting myth impact our lives seriously, because this archetypal domain is threatening. Here, those hidden fears surface which we would rather not acknowledge, let alone confront -- or befriend.

I've settled for the rather unoriginal comparison of the reader as traveler. He sets forth, rather vague as to his goal, on a trek through a territory perhaps larger and more strange than he had expected. Part jungle, part cultivated, it plunges him into beauty and horror, danger and delight.

Fortunately, the apprehensive tourist has Hoffman at hand as a tranquil, observant interpreter. At each stage of the journey (seven "key" tales forming the basic structure of the book) the author has the situation well in hand. Harking back to the experiences just past, he explains, supplements, enriches, compares, connects, reassures, hints, and warns. Looping forward in time, he prepares us for what lies ahead and connects it to what has occurred.

"Hey, I'm beginning to get it!" says the traveler. For the result of this complicated interweaving is that somehow the contours of the country . . .

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