Last night, I was browsing in a Borders next to the movie theatre as I had to kill some time before Thor started. (Yes, I saw Thor. In IMAX 3D no less. And loved it.) In the sale section, there was a stack of boxed sets of The Myths, the first volumes in the Cannongate series launched in 2005. One of those things I have always wanted to read but never quite got around to purchasing. And the list price $70 set was on sale for $7.99. Pristine condition. In shrink wrap. So my son, who was clutching a must-have Green Lantern release, and I rushed to the line to pay quickly before the husband could raise eyebrows and sigh over more book purchases.
The set includes:
- A Short History of Myth by Karen Armstrong
- The Penelopiad by Margaret Atwood
- Weight by Jeanette Winterson
- Dream Angus by Alexander McCall Smith
- A Word or Two About Myths by Phillip Pullman (slim insert)
So it was Origins night in a way - the books, the particular comic we purchased, the movie. And a reminder to my son that many comics are re-imagined classic myth. The tricky part with Thor the movie was to provide a primer on Norse mythology while introducing the character into our own world as a potential Avengers super hero. And Branagh succeeded brilliantly with a collection of excellent performances and visual stunners punctuated with humor and enhanced by his own classically trained awareness of mythic struggles. And this all has me thinking about the somewhat unusual high school English instruction that I received based upon Northrop Frye's Anatomy of Criticism. Simplified through a Blake-inspired seasonal breakdown of type and mode. I believe it was the third essay in the book that took up myth. Now where is it...?