Cover

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Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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CONTENTS

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pp. vii-viii

PREFACE

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pp. ix-xii

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1 THE MEANING OF MYTH

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pp. 1-17

"Few endeavours would appear to be more useless than a consideration of myth, if myth is taken in the sense in which it is generally used. To refer to something as myth is to suggest that it is false, naive, passe, a matter for the uninformed and the gullible. There may well be significance in the identification and examination of views and concepts that are seen to be false, but the study of myth becomes even more..."

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2 A SCIENCE MYTH

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pp. 19-46

"Science has few rivals for primacy among the influences that shape modern Western sensibilities. The distinction between the modern era and previous ages can be attributed in large measure to the emergence of science. In terms of the stages of myth considered above, science appeared as the supplemental myth that was taken for granted as the reigning Christian myth became problematic and required..."

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3 A SPORTS MYTH

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pp. 47-66

"Newspapers devote pages, if not complete sections, to sport. Radio stations feel obliged to include updates on sport along with hourly bulletins on news and weather. A significant amount of television time, especially on weekends, is taken up with sport, not to mention a specialized cable channel devoted exclusively to it. Any area of life that gets this much media attention has to have a significant impact,..."

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4 A CONSUMER MYTH

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pp. 67-82

"Although sport designates a relatively specific area of human activity, it can exert a mythic influence comparable to that of the wider reaches of science. A more natural ally for the science myth, however, and one prominent in the sport myth itself, is to be found in the pervasive presence of commercial considerations in contemporary life. Indeed, if, as definer of reality, science can be seen to provide the..."

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5 A VALUES MYTH

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pp. 83-95

"In ordinary speech, we talk casually about 'values.' This casualness is a good indication that the notion of 'values' operates as a mythichorizon that defines reality for us, without our being aware of it. Closer examination suggests that 'values' represent an alternative to traditional ethical and religious perspectives. The prominence of the usage is indicated in the interviews reported and analyzed in Habits of the..."

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6 AN ECOLOGY MYTH

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pp. 97-113

"The twentieth century began in the optimistic buoyancy of the age of progress. The high expectations of this outlook were dashed by the destruction of two world wars and the intervening collapse of the stockmarket. However, by the middle of the century, things were back on track. The wars and the market collapse now seemed like unfortunate deflections from what once again appeared as an assured and inevitable..."

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7 A SEX MYTH

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pp. 115-131

"In what must be at least the fourth decade of the sexual revolution, we might expect that the legacy of hang-ups and misconceptions about sexuality would have been largely dissipated. The massive clandestine market for sexual materials and services, the pervasive exploitation of sex in mainstream commercial activity, and the apparent escalation of allegations of sexual abuse, however, suggest that the revolution has by..."

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8 A SOCIETY MYTH

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pp. 133-147

"With every myth we have considered, we have ended up in the realm of religion. Science, sport, sex, and consumption may fill roles for us that formerly would have involved religion. How this has happened, and in particular how we can be doing something like this without generally realizing it, is explained to some extent by the fact that the transcendent horizon of religion has been replaced by the kinds of myths..."

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9 A RELIGION MYTH

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pp. 149-161

"Recognition of the presence of living myth indicates that we have not left myth behind nearly as decisively as the prevailing view assumes. The journalistic sense of myth as falsehood that reflects naivete of the past or of other people does not begin to recognize the pervasive presence of mythic commitments that give shape and direction to our own lives. What we have seen is that not only do we live by..."

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10 MEANINGFUL MYTH

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pp. 163-172

"The living myth approach that we have been considering is a fairly novel one, in contrast with the conventional dismissal of myth in the journalistic sense and the academic interest in scholarly myth. However, this usage is not entirely idiosyncratic. There are indications of an increasing recognition of our self-conscious involvement in myth in the sense of basic perspectives and priorities that shape life for us. But this..."

BIBLIOGRAPHY

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pp. 173-181