Margaret Anne Doody writes:
In his last days, the exiled and ageing Aristotle wrote to a friend: ‘The lonelier and the more isolated I am, the more I have come to love myths.’ We may puzzle over what Aristotle meant. Did he love folk-tales, religious stories or high-minded allegories? The Greek word mythos means (centrally) ‘story’ but all stories have or acquire meanings, and we tell ourselves stories all the time. A culture is the stories that it tells itself. In Managing Monsters: Six Myths of Our Time, the Reith Lectures of 1994, Marina Warner takes up some of our stories and the ways in which we manage them. Her use of the word ‘myth’ is deliberately all-encompassing, taking in the varieties of meaning now attached to the word; and her ‘myths’ include, but are not limited to, the famous old Greek stories that have so vexed our lives. She deals with narrated stories (e.g. the Odyssey) as well as with dramatic forms (the Oresteia, Jurassic Park), narrative images, folk beliefs, popular canards – and lies.