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Hermes the Thief: The Evolution of a Myth

Norman O. Brown

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ISBN 10: 0394705440 / ISBN 13: 9780394705446
Published by Vintage Books, 1969
Used Condition: Acceptable Soft cover
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Paperback. Creased spine. Light rubbing, edge wear, and a faint crease or two on covers. Underliing in text. A few pages are dog eared. Tulsa's best used bookstore. Located on South Mingo Road since 1991. No-hassle return policy if not completely satisfied. Bookseller Inventory # mon0000229619

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Bibliographic Details

Title: Hermes the Thief: The Evolution of a Myth

Publisher: Vintage Books

Publication Date: 1969

Binding: Paperback

Book Condition:Acceptable

About this title


Hermes is a vital and complex figure in Greek mythology―trickster and culture hero, divine child and patron of stealthy action, master of magic words, seducer and whisperer. Shepherd, artisan, herald, musician, athlete, merchant―who is this tricky shape-shifter, confronting us at every turn?

In this classic, prescient work (first published in 1947 and foreshadowing all subsequent work greeting the return of the gods), Brown asks: Is Hermes the Thief the prototype from which, by extension and analogy, the Trickster was derived? Alternatively, is the notion of trickery the fundamental idea and theft merely a specific manifestation of it?

This thoughtful study will be of interest to anyone wishing a fresh view of an important, often misunderstood, character of Greek mythology.

About the Author:

Norman Oliver Brown (1913–2002) was an American intellectual of wide ranging interests, graduating from Oxford with an MA and from the University of Wisconsin in Madison with a Ph.D. in the Classics. During World War II, Brown worked for the OSS as a specialist on French culture and later became Professor of Classics at Wesleyan University. In the late 1960s, he moved on to the University of California, Santa Cruz, where he was named Professor of Humanities. His initial work in classics betrayed a Marxist bent (his commentary to Hesiod’s Theogony and his first monograph, Hermes the Thief). Following his disenchantment with real politics in the wake of the 1948 presidential election, Brown turned to a deep study of the works of Freud, which culminated in his classic 1959 study Life Against Death: The Psychoanalytic Meaning of History. During his long residence at Santa Cruz, his interests broadened to include James Joyce, classical poetry and mythology, and a deep study of Islam. Many of his later writings were collected in the anthology Apocalypse and/or Metamorphosis.

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