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His mother is a virgin and he's reputed to be the son of a god; he loses favor and is driven from his kingdom to a sorrowful death — sound familiar? In The Hero, Lord Raglan contends that the heroic figures from myth and legend are invested with a common pattern that satisfies the human desire for idealization. Raglan outlines 22 characteristic themes or motifs from the heroic tales and illustrates his theory with events from the lives of characters from Oedipus (21 out a possible 22 points) to Robin Hood (a modest 13). A fascinating study that relates details from world literature with a lively wit and style, it was acclaimed by literary critic Stanley Edgar Hyman as "a bold, speculative, and brilliantly convincing demonstration that myths are never historical but are fictional narratives derived from ritual dramas." This new edition of The Hero (which originally appeared some 13 years before Joseph Campbell's The Hero With a Thousand Faces) is assured of a lasting popularity. This book will appeal to scholars of folklore and mythology, history, literature, and general readers as well.

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