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Humanities 2017, 6(4), 99; https://doi.org/10.3390/h6040099

Myth and One-Dimensionality

Department of Classical Studies, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN 47405, USA
Received: 16 November 2017 / Revised: 11 December 2017 / Accepted: 11 December 2017 / Published: 14 December 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Challenge of Folklore to the Humanities)
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Abstract

A striking difference between the folk-narrative genres of legend and folktale is how the human characters respond to supernatural, otherworldly, or uncanny beings such as ghosts, gods, dwarves, giants, trolls, talking animals, witches, and fairies. In legend the human actors respond with fear and awe, whereas in folktale they treat such beings as if they were ordinary and unremarkable. Since folktale humans treat all characters as belonging to a single realm, folklorists have described the world of the folktale as one-dimensional, in contrast to the two-dimensionality of the legend. The present investigation examines dimensionality in the third major genre of folk narrative: myth. Using the Greek and Hebrew myths of primordial paradise as sample narratives, the present essay finds—surprisingly—that the humans in these stories respond to the otherworldly one-dimensionally, as folktale characters do, and suggests an explanation for their behavior that is peculiar to the world of myth. View Full-Text
Keywords: legend; folktale; myth; folk narrative; supernatural; ancient Greece; ancient Rome; Genesis; abstract style; one-dimensionality legend; folktale; myth; folk narrative; supernatural; ancient Greece; ancient Rome; Genesis; abstract style; one-dimensionality
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).
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Hansen, W. Myth and One-Dimensionality. Humanities 2017, 6, 99.

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