When Jean-Pierre Vernant first published Myth and Thought among the Greeks in 1965, it transformed the field of ancient Greek scholarship, calling forth a new way to think about Greek myth and thought. In eighteen essays—three of which, along with a new preface, are translated into English for the first time—Vernant freed the subject of ancient Greece from its philological chains and reread the questions of "muthos" and "logos" within multifaced and transdisciplinary contexts—of religion, ritual, and art, philosophy, science, social and economic institutions, and historical psychology. A major contribution to both the humanities and the social sciences, Myth and Thought among the Greeks aims to come to terms with a single, essential question: How were individual persons in ancient Greece inseparable from a social and cultural environment of which they were simultaneously the creators and products? Seven themes organize this stellar work—from "Myth Structures" and "Mythic Aspects of Memory and Time" to "The Organization of Space," "Work and Technological Thought," and "Personal Identity and Religion." A master storyteller, an innovative, precise, and original thinker, Vernant continues to change the narratives we tell about the histories of civilizations and the histories of human beings in their individual and collective identities.
In this groundbreaking study, Jean Pierre-Vernant delineates a compelling new vision of ancient Greece. Myth and Society in Ancient Greece takes us far from the calm and familiar images of Polykleitos and the Parthenon to reveal a fundamentally other culture one of slavery, of masks and death, of scapegoats, of ritual hunting and ecstasies.
Vernant's provocative discussion of various institutions and practices including war, marriage, and sacrifice details the complex intersection of the religious, social, and political structures of ancient Greece. The book concludes with Vernant's authoritative genealogy of the study of myth from antiquity to structuralism and beyond.
Jean Pierre-Vernant is Professor Emeritus of Comparative Study of Ancient Religions at the Collège de France in Paris. Janet Lloyd is a translator and writer living in England. Distributed for Zone Books.
Jean-Pierre Vernant and Pierre Vidal-Naquet are leaders in a contemporary French classical scholarship that has produced a stunning reconfiguration of Greek thought and literature. Here they provide a disturbing and decidedly nonclassical reading of Greek myth and tragedy and the relationship between them.
Jean-Pierre Vernant is Professor Emeritus of Comparative Study of Ancient Religions at the College de France in Paris. Pierre Vidal-Naquet is Director of Studies and Professor of Sociology at the Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes in Paris.