Bulfinch's Mythology: The Classic Introduction to Myth and Legend-Complete and Unabridged (Tarcher Cornerstone Editions)

by Thomas Bulfinch

Book, 2014



Call number


Call number



TarcherPerigee (2014), 752 pages

Original publication date

1863 (Legends of Charlemagne)
1858 (The Age of Chivalry)
1855 (The Age of Fable)

Physical description

752 p.; 8.2 inches

User reviews

LibraryThing member bohannon
Fun Read! Really three books in one volume. The first is a synopsis of various greek and roman myths as one may need to understand certain renaissance and forward references. The second is a statement of the Arthurian romances. As one who has only encountered those in films, it was good to get
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something closer to the original flavor of those. And the last was a series of related, yet separate myths of Wales. All in all quite a fun read. I kept having visions of adapting them into animated web shorts...
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LibraryThing member shmuffin
The only problem with Bulfinch's Mythology is how all of the stories are summarized. I would like to read translations of the stories instead.
LibraryThing member bleached
A fantastic reference book that is also fun to read. My only disappointment was the fact that to contain all of the tales they had to be summarized and not written out in their entire splendor.
LibraryThing member Mendoza
THE reference book for mythology. I may have gone on to other works as the years pass but I still come back to this work. It is very reminisent of high school and all that angst for me. I believe I had all the answers back then....

THis book is definitely a must.
LibraryThing member TheBooknerd
A good addition to anyone's mythology collection. I am disappointed by the heavy focus Greco-Roman mythology, since books on that topic are easy to come by, and the sparse attention to Irish mythology. However, there is a nice portion of medieval myths that aren't commonly encountered. Remember,
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though, that this isn't a modern book, so you'll need to be prepared for that 1700-1800s style of writing, which some other reviewers have remarked as being dry or otherwise unappealing. If you can get beyond that, you'll find this book to be an essential resource.
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LibraryThing member Henning_Hartung
An excellent introduction to the stories told by our ancestors to each other in the dark winter evenings. The tales are summarised, the characters listed, and the subject ready for you to explore deeper if you wish.
LibraryThing member JBD1
I worked my way through this thick volume over the course of a few weeks in August, wanting to take my time with it and dig in a bit. I didn't find Bulfinch's summaries all that interesting, in the end, but I suspect it will be useful to have this book around for the occasional reference need. It's
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certainly a handy thing to have so many different mythologies highlighted within two covers.
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LibraryThing member jwl
A great all around resource for a variety of myths, mostly focused in Greek and Roman mythology but with some medieval ones as well.
LibraryThing member rampaginglibrarian
This along with Edith Hamilton's Mythology is one of THE classic texts of mythology (in fact this is probably considered THE ONE to most basic college mythology (read Old White Men --No Offense)professors) i know this was mine. And it does cover the basics and i still refer to it from time to time
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but i find it a little dry. (and really--mythology should be anything but dry!!!)
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LibraryThing member Czrbr
Book Description: New York: Gramercy, 2003. Original Boards. Fine/Fine. 8vo - over 7" - 9¾" tall. (xvii, 957pp) Including the complete texts of The Age of Fable, The Age of Chivalry, Legends of Charlemagne. With 42 illustrations, plus maps, charts and an 80pp dictionary.
LibraryThing member HarperKingsley
A very interesting read. A lot of the myths I read elsewhere are completely different than the ones I read elsewhere. I'm not sure which myths are the more prevalent, but the differences were very interesting.

As I like to include some mythology and mythological stories into my writings, I think
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this will be a very helpful tool. My copy of "D'Aulaires' Book of Greek Myths" brings in the whimsical, while "Bulfinch's" bring in a more practical view.
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LibraryThing member byers2142
An excellent introduction into Western mythologies! If anyone is looking for a portal book into myth studies or just interested in reading a number of diverse myths, this is the book to start with.
LibraryThing member JVioland
Thoroughly enjoyable. That is, if you love ancient tales.
LibraryThing member Ghost_Boy
This was not a fun mythology read. I kind of liked it, but I'm just glad I finished the whole thing. Keep in mind this book was published in the late 1800s and keep in mind this is not about all kinds of mythology. If you have an interest in Greco-Roman (mostly Roman) mythology, King Author, and
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Charlemagne you might enjoy this, but even I found Bulfinch's writing tedious. It's worth the read, but it's dated compared to some modern mythology books.

At times this book tries to cover other types of mythology, but briefly. Clearly he cared more about Roman and King Author mythology. Maybe he didn't know too much about the other stuff, but to call this "mythology" is kind of misleading. The third part of this book is more history/lore than mythology. Not sure if Charlemagne truly belongs in this book or not.

Besides the fact that this focuses on mythology the only reason I read this was because it was referenced in the comic book Fables with "Bulfinch" Street. Not only that, I can see Fables used some of this books ideas on knights and chivalry...which this book goes into more than mythology in my opinion.

Overall I'm glad I read this, but most of this was a review thanks to college.
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LibraryThing member EmScape
The definitive collection of mythology, although from a decidedly Anglo Christian perspective. It's actually interesting to ferret out the slant Bulfinch brings to a text which would benefit from a less biased perspective. It is helpful to have a basic knowledge of the myths that have informed
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culture, both classical and popular over the years. It's also very useful for doing crosswords.
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LibraryThing member AngelaJMaher
This is a highly comprehensive book, so it's rather long, and took me quite some time to read it. It was great to see so many familiar names and tales presented in their original context. I'm not sure how much of it I really absorbed, but it's a great resource for anyone interested in mythology.
LibraryThing member Joe73
A benchmark in the Mythology world. What can you say about it that has not already been said. If you read Mythology it is a must to have on your shelf. However I would consider Edith Hamilton's volume just as pertinent.
LibraryThing member ritaer
read as a child, mostly the Greek and Roman
LibraryThing member keylawk
The author was a well-educated and underemployed bank clerk in Boston who used his spare time to research classical mythology. Thomas Bulfinch was born in 1796, one of three sons of the great Unitarian architect. But unlike his two successful brothers, Thomas only failed in several businesses. At
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age 41, taking a modest clerical job, he began to write what became the definitive and important series of works on mythology, fables and legends. To this day, Bulfinch supersedes in quality and readership much of the scholastic materials written by academicians.

This three-volume collection presents Bulfinch's studies first published in one combined volume in 1881: The Age of Fable presents the Greek and Roman myths of the classical period. The Age of Chivalry is a retelling of the legends of King Arthur, Robin Hood, and sundry British/Celtic folk tales. The third part, the Legends of Charlemagne, recounts tales drawn from France, Germany, and Africa.
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