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English Mythography in its European Context, 1500-1650$
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Anna-Maria Hartmann

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780198807704

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198807704.001.0001

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(p.239) Conclusion
English Mythography in its European Context, 1500-1650

Anna-Maria Hartmann

Oxford University Press

Although they did not set out explicitly to theorize myth, the mythographers in this study formulated particular concepts of myth. These concepts were developed ad hoc, rather than as part of a sustained dialogue on the question, ‘What is myth?’, and as such they can be considered ‘proto-theories’ of myth. While drawing on continental sources, the English mythographies form their own, distinct phase in the genre’s history. This phase ends in the middle of the seventeenth century. The second mythography by Alexander Ross, Mystagogus Poeticus, is identified as the transitional work. It is the first English mythography written explicitly as a reference work for use in schools. Other characteristics of the genre in the second half of the seventeenth century are exemplified by the mythographies by Nicholas Billingsley and Robert Whitcombe, as well as in the English translations of mythographies by Pierre Gautruche and François Pomey.

Keywords:   myth theory, myth philosophy, mythography, Alexander Ross, Robert Whitcombe, Nicholas Billingsley, Marius D’Assigny, Pierre Gautruche, François Pomey

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