What is a myth?


Hello, and welcome to the Folklore & Fiction newsletter. In this edition, I'll be writing about the myth genre with help from scholars Alan Dundes, William Bascom, and others, helping you analyse a myth, and discussing ways to bring myth to your story craft.

Folkloric Definition of Myth

In his 1984 introduction to Sacred Narrative: Readings in the Theory of Myth, folklorist Alan Dundes provides the simpler of the two definitions I'm including here. He writes that "A myth is a sacred narrative explaining how the world and man came to be in their present form (Dundes 1984, 1)." Well and good, but I think we need a bit more than that if we want to utilize myth in our writing.

William Bascom's 1965 article "The Forms of Folklore: Prose Narratives" offers a more comprehensive definition. He writes:

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