Wednesday, April 9, 2014


Grad school infiltrated my reading habits. No surprise, since grad school for people in folklore is a whole lot of reading. So now when I read something, I tend to read a lot of stuff about the thing I'm reading.

For example, when I read the Arabian Nights, I wanted to really into it. So when I got about a hundred nights in, I read Robert Irwin's Companion. Then after a while I read Marina Warner's Stranger Magic. As I read through roughly five nights each day, I read bits of Ulrich Marzolph's Encyclopedia of the Nights, and Muhsin Mahdi's book about the history of the various manuscripts that have been put together over the years. As I got into the home stretch of the tales themselves, I read the collections Scheherazade's Children and The Arabian Nights and Orientalism.  Along the way, I flipped through Hasan El-Shamy's Motif Index to the Nights. I also read the introduction and some stories from Hussein Haddawy's translation and the Norton Critical Edition of that translation. I intended to read  Gerhardt's The Art of Story-Telling, but never got around to it.

Now I'm on to the Brothers Grimm. I'm reading two or three of their fairy tales each day, from the Ralph Manheim translation. I've already read all of Philip Pullman's Tales from the Brothers Grimm, which I liked quite a lot--he picked fifty of the stories to translate (though I question some of his choice because he clearly doesn't like all of the stories). I've got Jack Zipes book on The Brothers Grimm: From Enchanted Forests to the Modern World, Maria Tatar's The Hard Facts on the Brothers Grimm, and Donald Haase's The reception of Grimms' Fairy Tales. I've been reading bits of Jacob Grimm's Teutonic Mythology--a four volume set that you really shouldn't just sit and read straight through. It's more like an encyclopedia than anything else. But it's really wonderful. I intend to get the Grimms' book  on German legends somewhere along the way, but I'm not in any hurry. I've also got a copy of Folktales of Germany by Kurt Ranke to read periodically.

Following that, I intend to read Tom Shippey's The Shadow-Walkers: Jacob Grimm's Mythology of the Monstrous as a way to switch from German folktales to Norse Mythology. I've got a history of the Vikings all lined up, with Margaret Clunies Ross' Prolonged Echoes, John Lindow's Murder and Vengence among the Gods (I've also got his handbook on Norse myth--more about that series in another post), both the Eddas, H.R. Ellis Davidson's Gods and Myths of Norther Europe, and the behemoth Sagas of the Icelanders.

I see that John Lindow has a book about trolls coming out next week.  I'll include that in the list above, just cause it looks great. Then there's the new translation of Beowulf coming out in May, by J.R.R. Tolkien.

After that I'll move on to Greek mythology. I haven't worked out what I'll read for that yet, but I might as well begin with Homer and Hesiod, then Walter Burkert's Greek Religion, and his Structure and History in Greek Myth and Ritual, and a whole bunch of collections of essays that I've accumulated over the years. And a couple of G.S. Kirk's books, The Nature of Greek Mythology and Myth: Its Meaning and Function in Ancient and Other Cultures.

So that's how I read these days. Well, if you throw in three or four novels for every work of scholarship, that's how I read.  Oh, and all the research I do for various projects, like the movie I'm writing about Canaanite gods, or the Superman and comics research. Actually, I'm only able to read like this because most all of my Superman research is done.

No comments:

Post a Comment