Mythology

A Type of Traditional Literature

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What is traditional literature?

  • Stories passed down from generation to generation.
  • May be hundreds or thousands of years old.
  • Shared through storytelling; told by word of mouth instead of written down.
  • No known author.
  • Originated all over the world.
  • Help us to better understand the people of different cultures.

What is a myth?

  • A story with a message.
  • Ancient people believed these stories to be true.
  • Myths attempt to explain the natural world and why things are the way they are. For example, these stories may tell about the creation of things, why the seasons change, why spiders spin their webs, or why day turns into night.
  • They involve supernatural elements or superhuman strengths.
  • Characters can include gods and goddesses, mortal men and women, spirits, talking animals, and mythical beings (unicorns, mermaids).
  • Often have fast-paced, violent plots.

Myths originated in different countries and cultures. There are Greek myths, Roman myths, English myths, Irish myths, Scottish myths, Russian myths, African myths, Asian myths, Native American myths, and many more!

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Where can I find myths in the library?

Most myths are shelved with traditional literature -- stories that originated a long time ago -- folktales, fairy tales, legends, fables, and tall tales. Although the original stories had no known author, over the years they have been retold and published by different authors.


Modern myths

Authors have also written new versions of the old stories by re-mixing them in some way. Those get classified as fiction. Here are some examples of modern myths...
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