New Books Network

Adheesh Sathaye, “Crossing the Lines of Caste” (Oxford UP, 2015)
What does it mean to be a Brahmin, and what could it mean to become one? The ancient Indian mythological figure Viśvāmitra accomplishes just this, transforming himself from a king into a Brahmin by cultivation of ascetic power. The book, Crossing the Lines of Caste, examines legends of the irascible... Read More
Jóhanna Katrín Friðriksdóttir, “Valkyrie: The Women of the Viking World” (Bloomsbury, 2020)
Fascination with the Viking Age seems to be at an all-time high, though it has never really gone out of fashion. There is something irresistible about the Vikings, a civilization dedicated to exploring the edges of the known world, forging an empire from north America to Kiev, which dominated the... Read More
Kathryn Hume, “The Metamorphoses of Myth in Fiction since 1960” (Bloomsbury Academic, 2020)
Why do contemporary writers use myths from ancient Greece and Rome, Pharaonic Egypt, the Viking north, Africa’s west coast, and Hebrew and Christian traditions? What do these stories from premodern cultures have to offer us? In her new book, The Metamorphoses of Myth in Fiction since 1960, Professor Kathryn Hume... Read More
Éva Guillorel, “Rhythms of Revolt: European Traditions and Memories of Social Conflict in Oral Culture” (Routledge, 2018)
The culture of insurgents in early modern Europe was primarily an oral one; memories of social conflicts in the communities affected were passed on through oral forms such as songs and legends. This popular history continued to influence political choices and actions through and after the early modern period. The... Read More
Steve Zeitlin, “The Poetry of Everyday Life: Storytelling and the Art of Awareness” (Cornell UP, 2016)
This is a book of encounters. Part memoir, part essay, and partly a guide to maximizing your capacity for fulfillment and expression, The Poetry of Everyday Life: Storytelling and the Art of Awareness (Cornell University Press, 2016) taps into the artistic side of what we often take for granted: the... Read More
Kevin McGrath, “Vyāsa Redux: Narrative in Epic Mahābhārata” (Anthem Press, 2019)
In Vyāsa Redux: Narrative in Epic Mahābhārata (Anthem Press, 2019), Kevin McGrath examines the complex and enigmatic Vyāsa, both the primary creative poet of the Sanskrit epic Mahābhārata and a key character in the very epic he composes. In doing so McGrath focuses on what he considers the late Bronze... Read More
Martin Shaw, “Courting the Wild Twin” (Chelsea Green, 2020)
Today I interview Martin Shaw. In Shaw’s new book, Courting the Wild Twin (Chelsea Green Publishing, 2020), he writes, “Here’s a secret I don’t share very often. Myths are not only to do with a long time ago. They have a promiscuous, curious, weirdly up-to-date quality. They can’t help but... Read More
Magda Teter, “Blood Libel: On the Trail of an Antisemitic Myth” (Harvard UP, 2020)
The myth of Jews killing Christian children emerged in 1144 CE, with the death of a boy named William in Norwich, England. Over the course of several centuries, this myth gained traction and became firmly rooted throughout medieval and early modern Europe. In Blood Libel: On the Trail of an... Read More
Lijun Zhang and Ziying You, “Chinese Folklore Studies Today: Discourse and Practice” (Indiana UP, 2020)
The discipline of folkloristics in the People’s Republic of China is robust and well-funded. With thousands of scholars across the country, it is surprising then that there is relatively little understanding of the research and contributions of Chinese folklorists to the discipline. This despite the fact that Chinese folklorists are... Read More