37 Comments
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What a loving tribute to a true mentor. Although you never met , it's clear that she has had such a deep and indelible influence on you.

I don't know how I could have read your post WITHOUT getting ahold of Mythology.

My young introduction to myths was D'Aulaires' , with Greek and Norse. Much more of a children's book with all those wonderful pictures.

Somewhere Edith Hamilton is smiling.

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Oct 16, 2023Liked by Librarian of Celaeno

Wow! I remember enjoying that book when I was assigned to read it in middle school, despite the fact that it mostly went over my head at the time. I see I need to revisit it, and you have inspired me to do that. What a beautiful tribute to a most remarkable lady!

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Oct 16, 2023Liked by Librarian of Celaeno

I must have had half a dozen copies of Mythology floating around my parents' houses growing up, it really is remarkable how long it's remained the standard, though I imagine it's been somewhat displaced since I was in high school in the early aughts. I am fond of Bulfinch but it's an acquired taste, and Robert Graves' attempt was strange and contrived., so Edith Hamilton it's always been.

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Oct 17, 2023Liked by Librarian of Celaeno

What a tribute to an extraordinary book, and author. And I found your closing paragraph so incredibly moving I almost teared up.

Similar to some other commenters, I remember D'Aulaire as my introduction to myth; I can still see the copy from my elementary school in my minds eye -- an edition with a purple library binding and a map of the night sky and constellations on the front and end-papers. My oldest daughter is a voracious reader, and now has her own copy of D'Aulaire after a similar discovery in her own classical school library (sadly no constellations in the endpapers). Her enthusiasm for it caused me to pick up a copy of Edith Hamilton's Mythology at a used bookstore at some point last year; upon completion I decided it was likely too adult for her.

After reading this post, I've changed my mind. She's getting it tonight.

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We were assigned Hamilton’s Mythology in high school and expected to read the whole thing. It is part of the architecture of my brain.

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Remarkable woman. love to speak with such a person. thank you....i bet she would appreciate this.

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Thanks!

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Nov 12, 2023Liked by Librarian of Celaeno

I just finished Mythology for the first time. Thank you for the suggestion Mr Librarian.

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Nov 2, 2023·edited Nov 2, 2023Liked by Librarian of Celaeno

Thank you for the testimonial. I especially appreciated your points about life and work at the end.

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A friend of mine attended Bryn Mawr. I live just outside of Philadelphia when I met her. Thank you for all this information! I will check out the book 🤗

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Oct 18, 2023Liked by Librarian of Celaeno

Outstanding.

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Oct 18, 2023Liked by Librarian of Celaeno

This is just beautiful. Thank you. I have read several of her works and have been reading the classics and introducing them to my children. Thank you for bringing Edith to light as more than just a name on the spine of a much loved book.

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I spent many hours hiding in between the book racks at Waldenbook's as a child reading all i could, with the hopes that i might convince mother to purchase just maybe one of them as it came time to leave the mall. I also fondly remember Hamilton's Mythology book. It was absolutely one of my favorite subjects in my youth.

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Oct 17, 2023Liked by Librarian of Celaeno

"That dog-eared and coverless paperback edition of Mythology currently sits wrapped in leather under the base of the lamp on my desk in my classroom, the foundation of my illumination."

I had to stop there when reading, and pause and marvel at this piece of art.

It immediately set an entire scene forth in my mind's eye, akin to the opening scene to story you know nothing about. Will it be an Indiana Jones-like matinée action-drama? Perhaps some kind of Fortean or Lovecraftian horror story? Or maybe a more emotional piece, heavy with the gravitas of real life yet airy and lofty where the spirit may soar on the wings of stories?

(Noy making excuses for my purple prose; I largely learned english from reading Howard, Lovercraft and english classics like Robinson Crusoe and such. Never been able to shake it, despite the best efforts of teachers.)

Reading... it is what saved my mind I think. As a child, I'd go to the library after school to read while waiting for mom to finish work: back then she was a doctor's (MD) secretary and got off about 1½ after school finished. When no shenanigans with friends were available for whatever reason, I invariably went to the library.

I'll never forget when I still a child wanted to read "Firefox". It had a very cool cover and a very cool name, ergo it must bve a good book, right? The librarian took issue with this, deeming it not fit for children. Cue mom reading her the riot act when she came by - "You have no right to decide what he reads or doesn't read! Only I and his father may do so if it's to be done at all, which it isn't!".

(Paternal grandmother, who escaped the Wehrmacht just in time, had strong views on "forbidden" books, censorship, and book burnings, having first-hand experience of such things from working at a publisher's back then: her attitude rubbed off on the entire family.)

I think that's where I got a first inkling of why some teaching-programming methods fail, and some work: the library had european and american and soviet comics in its children's section. The US ones were obviously designed to generate profit by being entertaining, catering to the lowest common denominator to maximise the market (are thoughts I couldn't put to words as child, obviously). The euopean ones were 100% focused on storytelling and art. The soviet ones were blatantly bombastically didactic, about as subtle as a techer telling you to come up to the desk and point to Irkutsk or Guadalajara on a map.

Anyways, this was a treat and a half to read from you. You're making me miss teaching, even!

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Oct 17, 2023Liked by Librarian of Celaeno

This is great. Will read Mythology

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Oct 16, 2023Liked by Librarian of Celaeno

Loved this so much.

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