Author: Andrew Lang
PREFACE TO NEW IMPRESSION.
PREFACE TO NEW EDITION.
CHAPTER I. -- SYSTEMS OF MYTHOLOGY.
Definitions of religion--Contradictory evidence--"Belief in
spiritual beings"--Objection to Mr. Tylor's definition--Definition
as regards this argument--Problem: the contradiction between
religion and myth--Two human moods--Examples--Case of Greece--
Ancient mythologists--Criticism by Eusebius--Modern mythological
systems--Mr. Max Muller--Mannhardt.
CHAPTER II. -- NEW SYSTEM PROPOSED.
Chapter I. recapitulated--Proposal of a new method: Science of
comparative or historical study of man--Anticipated in part by
Eusebius, Fontenelle, De Brosses, Spencer (of C. C. C., Cambridge),
and Mannhardt--Science of Tylor--Object of inquiry: to find
condition of human intellect in which marvels of myth are parts of
practical everyday belief--This is the savage state--Savages
described--The wild element of myth a survival from the savage
state--Advantages of this method--Partly accounts for wide
DIFFUSION as well as ORIGIN of myths--Connected with general
theory of evolution--Puzzling example of myth of the water-
swallower--Professor Tiele's criticism of the method--
Objections to method, and answer to these--See Appendix B.
CHAPTER III. -- THE MENTAL CONDITION OF SAVAGES--CONFUSION WITH
The mental condition of savages the basis of the irrational element
in myth--Characteristics of that condition: (1) Confusion of all
things in an equality of presumed animation and intelligence;
(2) Belief in sorcery; (3) Spiritualism; (4) Curiosity; (5) Easy
credulity and mental indolence--The curiosity is satisfied, thanks
to the credulity, by myths in answer to all inquiries--Evidence for
this--Mr. Tylor's opinion--Mr. Im Thurn--Jesuit missionaries'
Relations--Examples of confusion between men, plants, beasts and
other natural objects--Reports of travellers--Evidence from
institution of totemism--Definition of totemism--Totemism in
Australia, Africa, America, the Oceanic Islands, India, North Asia--
Conclusions: Totemism being found so widely distributed, is a proof
of the existence of that savage mental condition in which no line
is drawn between men and the other things in the world. This
confusion is one of the characteristics of myth in all races.
CHAPTER IV. -- THE MENTAL CONDITION OF SAVAGES--MAGIC--
Claims of sorcerers--Savage scientific speculation--Theory of
causation--Credulity, except as to new religious ideas--"Post hoc,
ergo propter hoc"--Fundamental ideas of magic--Examples:
incantations, ghosts, spirits--Evidence of rank and other
institutions in proof of confusions of mind exhibited in magical
CHAPTER V. -- NATURE MYTHS.
Savage fancy, curiosity and credulity illustrated in nature myths--
In these all phenomena are explained by belief in the general
animation of everything, combined with belief in metamorphosis--Sun
myths, Asian, Australian, African, Melanesian, Indian, Californian,
Brazilian, Maori, Samoan--Moon myths, Australian, Muysca, Mexican,
Zulu, Macassar, Greenland, Piute, Malay--Thunder myths--Greek and
Aryan sun and moon myths--Star myths--Myths, savage and civilised,
of animals, accounting for their marks and habits--Examples of
custom of claiming blood kinship with lower animals--Myths of
various plants and trees--Myths of stones, and of metamorphosis
into stones, Greek, Australian and American--The whole natural
philosophy of savages expressed in myths, and survives in folk-lore
and classical poetry; and legends of metamorphosis.
CHAPTER VI. -- NON-ARYAN MYTHS OF THE ORIGIN OF THE WORLD AND OF MAN.
Confusions of myth--Various origins of man and of things--Myths of
Australia, Andaman Islands, Bushmen, Ovaherero, Namaquas, Zulus,
Hurons, Iroquois, Diggers, Navajoes, Winnebagoes, Chaldaeans,
Thlinkeets, Pacific Islanders, Maoris, Aztecs,
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