The Lessons of Nature in Mythology


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About the Book

This examination of myths from around the world focuses on the role nature plays within mythology. Creation myths from myriad cultures recognized that life arose from natural elements, inextricably connecting human life to the natural world. Nature as portrayed in myth is unpredictable and destructive but also redemptive, providing solace and wisdom. Mythology relates the human life cycle to the seasons, with spring, summer, fall and winter as metaphors for birth, adulthood, old age and death. The author identifies divinities who were direct representations of natural phenomena. The transition of mythic representations from the Paleolithic to Neolithic period is discussed.

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About the Author(s)

Rachel S. McCoppin is a professor of literature at the University of Minnesota Crookston. She has published in the areas of mythology, comparative literature, and multicultural pedagogy in scholarly books and journals.

Bibliographic Details

Rachel S. McCoppin

Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 224
Bibliographic Info: notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2015
pISBN: 978-1-4766-6200-8
eISBN: 978-1-4766-2215-6
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Preface 1
Introduction: The Land Is the Myth 3
1. Emerging from the Earth 13
2. The Earth Goddess, the Male Seed and the Harvest 44
3. Divine Nature 77
4. Untamed Nature and the Unfettered Human 110
5. Trees of Knowledge and Botanical Metamorphosis 140
6. The Seasonal Life Cycle and Myths of Destruction 174
Conclusion 201
Chapter Notes 205
Bibliography 209
Index 213

Book Reviews & Awards

“McCoppin has written a lucid and accessible examination of the role of nature in the overt and implied contexts of world mythologies…an admirable job of comparing and contrasting themes across a wide range of mythologies…recomended”—Choice.