Chapter

Myth and ritual

Robert A. Segal

in Myth: A Very Short Introduction

Second edition

Published in print July 2015 | ISBN: 9780198724704
Published online July 2015 | e-ISBN: 9780191792328 | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1093/actrade/9780198724704.003.0005

Series: Very Short Introductions

Myth and ritual

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  • Social Psychology
  • Mythology and Folklore
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‘Myth and ritual’ explores the myth-ritualist theory, which proposes myth does not stand by itself, but is tied to ritual. Myth is not just a statement but an action. Whatever the tie between myth and ritual, the myth-ritualist theory differs from other theories of myth and from other theories of ritual in focusing on the tie. The arguments for and against this theory are examined, as is its application to literature. For literary myth-ritualists, myth becomes literature when myth is severed from ritual. Myth tied to ritual is religious literature; myth cut off from ritual is secular literature. Literary myth-ritualism is a theory not of myth and ritual themselves, but of their impact on literature.

Keywords: Northrop Frye; legend; literature; myth; statement; theory

Chapter.  4806 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Social Psychology ; Mythology and Folklore ; Literary Theory and Cultural Studies ; Social and Cultural History ; Social and Cultural Anthropology

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