Sandro Botticelli, Primavera

Jason delivering Golden Fleece to Pelias

Jason delivering Golden Fleece to Pelias, Louvre

Myth and Metamorphosis

Myth and Metamorphosis, Colby Museum of the Arts

Let there be light! said Liberty,
And like sunrise from the sea,
  Athens arose!
Percy Bysshe Shelley
     Hellas, l. 682
ODQ 493 : 24

Waterhouse, Hylas and the Nymphs

Introduction 2B

Myth, The Source of all* Storytelling

(*All, except Fairy Tales.)

If every Fairy Tale is a journey, Myth is an effort to make sense of where we find ourselves at journey's end.

Making sense presupposes an ability to reason.   Reasoning assumes the capacity to think.   And thinking involves the use of words, those marvellous and mystical, unseen and unique life-altering entities sometimes unkindly described as lies.

If Fairy Tales tell us who we are, Myth is the raiment — the tissue of falsehoods, misdirection and concealment — with which we cover up our frailties and flaunt our attributes.

Just as we demand from Fairy Tales certain characteristics in order to qualify for the title, so Myth has its own essential elements, often ascertained in direct opposition to Fairy Tale, and beginning with the latter's Transformatory Journey:—

Le beau narcisse, Honore Daumier Apollo and Daphne, Waterhouse — The fate of Narcissus can be understood as a simple narrative, as a small morality tale on the dangers of loving oneself so thoroughly that we become fixated on our reflected glory to the exclusion of everything else, or as an analytic tool to describe the workings of a severe neurotic disorder, depending upon the capacity for intellectual sublety on the part of the reader.
    —Apollo and Daphne is capable of even deeper complexity of meaning, from our natural repulsion toward an overly enthusiastic pursuit by an unwanted lover, to the psychological phenomenon of figuratively turning ourselves into unresponsive wood when submission to superior physical force is unavoidable.   And all this effected by the use of words as the medium of transformation, rather than of narration.


*  *   *   *   *

  In conclusion:

— If it's true that all storytelling is based upon Fairy Tale and/or Myth, then it should be possible to examine our five chosen artistic works in conjunction with at least one particular representative of the assumed source.

Except that I've already proven the rule by exception with Dear Frankie, neither Fairy Tale nor Myth, but just itself.   Meanwhile Blackpool so successfully proves my rule that I've been forced to deal directly with relevant Fairy Tale and Myth in my treatment of the six Episodes of that BBC television miniseries.

Fortunately I've been more successful in separating Pride and Prejudice from its possible Fairy Tale and Myth forebears, beginning with Fairy Tales and Pride and Prejudice in the next section.

[July 2007, text only
    WebPage last amended February 22nd, 2013]


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