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.
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.
Jean Pierre-Vernant and Pierre Vidal-Naquet are leaders in a contemporary French classical scholarship that has produced a a stunning reconfiguration of Greek thought and literature. In this work, published here as a single volume, the authors present a disturbing and decidedly non-classical reading of Greek tragedy that insists on its radical discontinuity with our own outlook and with our social, aesthetic, and psychological categories.