I see you are confused about what constitutes cultural appropriation. I would like to provide you with resources and information on the subject so that you can better understand what our concerns are. However, I also want you to have a brief summary of some of the more salient points so that you do not assume you are merely being called a racist, and so that I do not become frustrated with your defensive refusal to discuss the topic on those grounds. If any of those have started whirling through your head, please lock them in a box while you read this article.
Many of the books available on myths and legends are written for children, and even books written for an adult audience are usually collections of myths. There are few titles I am aware of that are written for the general adult audience with an interest in exploring these stories in detail.
The Myths and Legends books do a nice job of compiling and organizing information from a variety of primary and secondary sources, and presenting it in a coherent way.
The books are durable and the pictures are attractive and will appeal to younger readers, but the print is small and the books are written at the reading level expected of a high school senior. The books were published in Britain and contain some British spellings that may be unfamiliar.
Those who finish and enjoy these books will be a highly motivated group. Volume 1, Jason and the Argonauts, tells a legend about the sea voyage of a group of heroessearching for the Golden Fleece, headed by Jason of Iolcus.
The myth of Jason and the Argonauts is based on a long epic poem, the Argonautica. A high point of the book is its design. It has plenty of white space and places illustrations on the pages in interesting ways that complement rather than distract from the text. There are a variety of well-chosen artworks and documents from different interpretations of the story, from a seventeenth century map to photographic stills from the Ray Harryhausen movie.
There are original illustrations throughout, including both lush landscapes and frightening creatures the harpies are terrifying. The book also includes a bibliography. Jason and the Argonauts definitely fills a need.
From Beowulf to St. George is a compilation of stories that includes many well-known heroes with elaborate stories, such as Beowulf and Hercules, with primary focus on their role as dragonslayers. Saints and British dragonslayers, especially St. George, receive plenty of attention as well. While the main focus is on dragonslayers in the European tradition, the book also has a chapter including stories from other traditions.
Joseph McCullough has written an engaging text which summarizes the stories and describes the search for historical verification. He provides both context for the stories and cultural references.
The design is well done, and illustrations that include both artistic representations over time and vivid color illustrations by Peter Dennis. Although McCullough does a nice job of referencing his sources in text, and provides a bibliography for those interested in further reading, the book could have benefited from an index.
To be clear, though, this title addresses nonfictional accounts of dragonslayers. While it could potentially be a reference for gamers, it is not the Monster Manual, and those looking for a book about dragons in fiction, or their care and keeping, will need to look elsewhere.Dear Twitpic Community - thank you for all the wonderful photos you have taken over the years.
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