n Acta Classica : Proceedings of the Classical Association of South Africa - Mythical Monsters in Classical Literature, Paul Murgatroyd : book review

Volume 51, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 0065-1141
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Paul Murgatroyd's book evolved out of his course work on mythology at MacMasters University. It reads as a sourcebook and functions as a useful reference work. Each chapter concentrates on an aspect of mythical monsters, based on a primary text or texts, which the author then translates and discusses. It is aimed at both the layman and the classical scholar and thus reads extremely well. Murgatroyd focusses exclusively on the literary aspects of the primary texts and does not seek to interpret the nature of the beasts from the levels of the symbolic or psychoanalytic. Thus, meaning is not sought in the Monsters or their slayers themselves, but in how the ancient authors depict them. The author has identified the need for this approach, complementing the abundant body of literature that does deal with myth on the levels of the psychoanalytic, the anthropological and the symbolic.

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