We have a new essay from David Haan. A confrontation with the act of writing poetry, and the person or non-person of Shakespeare. Check out his stochastic bookmark blog for a look at his reading shelf.
For me, it really all began with Homer. Not Mr. Simpson. But the Homer. And his Iliad and Odyssey. Those were the two books that propelled me into more reading worlds than any other books. That was at age nine, and from there it was Bulfinch’s Mythology, and every mythological story I could get my hands on.
I don’t remember the exact year I first read Joseph Campbell, but I think I was ten or eleven. Hero With a Thousand Faces, to start with. I was fascinated by the idea I had picked up back at age nine that so many cultures seemed to have similar myths and legends and that many of the same elements existed in many world religions. Campbell just confirmed it all in detail. Moreso in his Masks of God series. And then Robert Graves in his Greek Myths confirmed the confirmation. Comparative Myth and Religion became a passion for me early on, and I think I was extraordinarily lucky that that formed the basis for so much of my later reading life.
Obviously, I wasn’t alone in being impacted by these books. Millions have been, including some of our best writers and more than a few geniuses of stage and movie screen. Starting your kids off with world mythology is a wonderful foundation for them. For kids of all ages, of course.