n Literator : Journal of Literary Criticism, Comparative Linguistics and Literary Studies - Sustaining the imaginative life : mythology and fantasy in Neil Gaiman's : research article




This examination of "American gods" argues that mythology is the bedrock for creative and poetic expression in literature that explores and comments on the universality of contemporary human concerns in a world where the spiritual link with the gods has largely been severed and belief systems have mostly lost their meaning.

The discussion investigates and identifies the significance of shamanic properties and practices as elements which aid the protagonist Shadow Moon in his journey of self-discovery, and illustrates that the novel's mythification represents an attempt to "reach below the surface of modern superficialities and re-connect with something old and mysterious within the depths of our soul" (Freke, 1999:6). Gaiman's unique style in conveying tales that have fashioned the past, the manner in which he evokes the meeting-place of science, fantasy, myth, and magic, and the synthesis he fashions between the ancient and the modern illustrate that the imaginative life is sustained by the incorporation of mythical motifs as creative device. The blending of mythical elements in "American gods" and its restorative project of putting the reader in touch with the profound inner spiritual world validate investigation.

In hierdie artikel oor "American gods" word betoog dat mitologie die basis vorm van kreatiewe en poëtiese uitdrukkings wat verkennend omgaan met en kommentaar lewer op die universaliteit van eietydse menslike bekommernisse in 'n wêreld waarin die spirituele band met die goddelike grotendeels verbreek is en geloofstelsels grotendeels hulle betekenis verloor het. Die sjamanistiese eienskappe van die protagonis Shadow Moon word ondersoek. Die ondersoek toon aan dat mite-skepping in die roman 'n poging verteenwoordig "[to] reach below the surface of modern superficialities and reconnect with something old and mysterious within the depths of our soul" (Freke, 1999:6). Die unieke wyse waarop Gaiman verhale oordra waarin aan die verlede vorm gegee is, die wyse waarop hy wetenskap, fantasie, mite en magie oproep, en sy sintese van die oeroue en die moderne illustreer dat die verbeeldingslewe deur die kreatiewe insluiting van mitiese motiewe onderhou word. Sowel die vervlegting van mitiese elemente in "American gods", as die wyse waarop die werk herstel bewerkstellig deur die eietydse samelewing in voeling te plaas met 'n diepsinnige innerlike geesteswêreld, word ondersoek.


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