Book review: Mythos, by Stephen Fry
People have been telling and retelling the Greek myths for more than 2,000 years. They have done so not only because the stories are fascinating, beautiful, troubling and sometimes shocking, but because they may be termed fairy-tales with meaning. In an afterword to his version of the earliest myths, Stephen Fry distinguishes between legend and myth. “Legend,” he says, “is taken to have been built up around a grain of truth… Myths, however, are imaginative, symbolic constructs. No-one believes that Hephaestus ever truly existed.” This is fair enough, even if one is left wondering whether in the dark of distant centuries, some may indeed have believed in the real existence of the mythical inhabitants of Olympus.