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The Age of Fable

Thomas Bulfinch

Book Overview: 

Bulfinch’s Mythology, is one of the most popular collections of mythology of all time. It consists of three volumes: The Age of Fable, The Age of Chivalry, and Legends of Charlemagne. This is a recording of the tenth edition of the first volume, The Age of Fable. It contains many Greek and Roman myths, including simplified versions of The Iliad and The Odyssey, as well as a selection of Norse and “eastern” myths. Thomas Bulfinch’s goal was to make the ancient myths accessible to a wide audience, and so it is suitable for children.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .ound of human conversation, breaks the stillness. Silence reigns there; and from the bottom of the rock the River Lethe flows, and by its murmur invites to sleep. Poppies grow abundantly before the door of the cave, and other herbs, from whose juices Night collects slumbers, which she scatters over the darkened earth. There is no gate to the mansion, to creak on its hinges, nor any watchman; but in the midst, a couch of black ebony, adorned with black plumes and black curtains. There the god reclines, his limbs relaxed with sleep. Around him lie dreams, resembling all various forms, as many as the harvest bears stalks, or the forest leaves, or the seashore grains of sand.

As soon as the goddess entered and brushed away the dreams that hovered around her, her brightness lit up all the cave. The god, scarce opening his eyes, and ever and anon dropping his beard upon his breast, at last shook himself free from himself, and leaning on his arm, inq. . . Read More

Community Reviews

Having heard about Bulfinch's Mythology since childhood I finally broke down, purchased the cheap Modern Library edition containing all three volumes at a local mall and read the thing. Unsurprisingly, it was a bit of a disappointment, Bulfinch not being a scholar and his versions of the stories...more

Have problems distinguishing Perseus from Theseus? Can't tell a Titan from an Olympian? Do those mythology questions on Jeopardy leave you stumped? Could mythology be your Achilles heel?

If your knowledge of Greek mythology is derived primarily from Saturday morning cartoons, then maybe it's time...more

Damn. Bulfinch's Mythology. About as classic as you can get. The early Victorian (hence highly bowdlerized and edited) version of classical Greek and Roman ideas about their then gods and goddesses. I'm sure you'll expect an erudite and telling critique of this all too proper version of stories t...more

I have mixed feelings on this book. I bought it to read because I heard it was a good resource to get caught up on Greek myths before my Literature GRE and I read a bit more than half of the book before giving up on it (p. 468). While I really liked the excerpts from literature used when explaini...more

Myths and legends from around the world.

The stories of gods and heros from Greece, Rome, Egypt, the Near East, the Far East, Scandinavia and Britain.
King Arthur and his knights.
The Mabinogeon.
Legends of Charlemagne.

I mostly use this book for research when I am reading another book which mentions...more

I feel like I really accomplished something having read Bulfinch. This particular book collected fables, chivalry, and Charlemagne. I set out expecting Fable to be my favorite section as I have been a devotee of Greek mythology since grade school, but I was surprised at how much I enjoyed reading...more

If anyone thinks this is a completely comprehensive look at the mythos of the Greeks, the Norse, the Celtic, the Arthurian, the Crusades, or the Middle Ages, then you're part-way correct. It is pretty comprehensive. At least by my eye. But it's more comprehensive for the Greeks, the Arthurian leg...more

Let's take a moment to not only acknowledge this work itself but also its very own history and author.

Thomas Bulfinch (1769 - 1867) was the son of Charles Bulfinch who was the first American architect (meaning the first man to be born on American soil to ever make architecture his profession), Co...more

I think a lot of people miss the purpose of the volume. This is a 19th century course on classics taught in a very classical way. When poetry or other literature based on the mythology discussed is quoted you should pull the work up and read the whole thing. This is of course much easier to do no...more

I know it's huge but this is an excellent reference book. All you need to know for the basics in most mythologies. Very recommended

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