Mythic Thinking in Twentieth-Century Britain Meaning for Modernity

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  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2013-10-31
  • Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan
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Mythic Thinking in Twentieth-Century Britain is the first cultural and intellectual history of myth as a mode of thought in modern Britain. Focusing on the period 1900-1980, it examines how a variety of thinkers and cultural groups used the concept of myth to articulate their anxieties about modernity and seek meaning within it. Mythic thinking was thus a profoundly modern response to what W.H. Auden called 'the modern problem' - the erosion of traditional meaning-creating structures and institutions. This book tells the story of mythic thinking in Britain from its origins in late-Victorian social anthropology to its cultural mainstreaming in the postwar period. It is a story that reveals the persistence of yearning for transcendent meaning in age that has often been assumed by historians to be 'disenchanted' and thoroughly secularized.

Author Biography

Matthew Sterenberg is an Assistant Professor at Waseda University's School of International Liberal Studies in Tokyo, Japan. There he teaches courses related to British history, European history, and historical theories and methods. His research focuses on the cultural and intellectual history of modern Britain.

Table of Contents

1. Myth and the Modern Problem
2. Golden Boughs, Fairy Books, and Holy Grails: The Making of a Myth-Saturated Culture
3. 'The Grail is Stirring': Modernist Mysticism, the Matter of Britain, and the Quest for Spiritual Renewal
4. 'The Mythical Mode of Imagination': J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, and the Epistemology of Myth
5. Coping with the Catastrophe: J.G. Ballard, the New Wave, and Mythic Science Fiction
6. Myth and the Quest for Psychological Wholeness: C.G. Jung as Spiritual Sage
7. Minding the Myth-Kitty: Myth, Cultural Authority, and the Evolution of English Studies
8. Making a Modern Faith: Myth in Twentieth-Century British Theology

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