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Ár nDraíocht Féin
Three Cranes
Chaos Matrix

September 17th, 2010

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01:12 pm - Study program book recommendations for students
For those working on the GSP/CTP/IP, here's a rundown of sources in a couple of courses, and what I thought of them:

First, key texts you must own that apply to several courses, or are so indespensible that you should really have them:

Magic 1

Key Sources:Helpful Sources:
  • Arcana Mundi, ed. by Georg Luck. This book has a lot of good background information, consisting of sources and some analysis. Centrally, this is an important book because it brings in key primary sources. Recommendation: Buy it if you like/focus on Greco-Roman religion, or are keen on magic sources. Otherwise, borrow.
  • In Search of the Indo Europeans by JP Mallory. You'll find some good stuff in here to answer the "background" type questions. Recommendation: Buy for general study program use, but not specifically for this course.
  • Apologia, by Apuleius. This text may border on "key" in some cases, and is very important. You can find several translations online, and there is a partial translation in Luck's book. Why so important? It is a deep refutation of an accusation of magical wrongdoing, and covers a hell of a lot about what people in antiquity thought about magic. An excellent work. Recommendation: Print it out and keep it.
  • The Golden Ass, by Apuleius. This is a humourous fictional tale about a guy who is turned into a donkey through magic. It's a pretty cool read (With the right translation) and several fictionalized incidents can help give a clear picture of what folk thought about magic. Recommendation: Buy a copy: it's cheap and a good read. But you won't find a lot of helpful stuff for course completion. For Study Program purposes, it's a "borrow."
  • Philopseudes, by Lucian. This is the origin of The Sorcerer's Apprentice, and an entertaining read. This is a set of stories-within-a-story, and all of the stories are false (and illustrated as such by the narrator). Recommendation: Read it online.

Indo-European Studies 1

Key Sources:Helpful Sources:
  • You'll probably be fine with Mallory.

Indo-European Myth 1

Key Sources:
  • In Search of the Indo-Europeans Language, Archaeology, and Myth by JP Mallory. This book answers nearly all the exit standard questions. Recommendation: Buy it. It's good for several courses.
  • Comparative Mythology by Jann Phuvel. This book has an excellent comparative streak (imagine that), and it's not too tough a read. Covers nearly all potential hearth cultures and has enough specific information to help most anyone. Recommendation: Buy it.
Helpful Sources:
  • Classical Mythology by Morford and Lendardon. Great book, covers varying interpretations of myth. Recommendation: Borrow from the library.
  • Myths and Symbols in Pagan Europe: Early Scandinavian and Celtic
    by HR Ellis Davidson. A great book for Norse- and Celtic-types looking to do this course. Deep enough to keep up with the questions, generally. Recommendation: Buy it if you're into either culture, borrow if not.
  • Vedic Mythology by A. A. MacDonnell. I used this extensively. The book is ideally organized for this course, with information about all the topics in the course under generally logical headings. Recommendation: Borrow it if you're not into Vedism yet, but want to use it for the course. If you are into Vedism, buy it.

Liturgy Practicum 1

Key Sources:Helpful Sources:
  • You should be fine with the above.

Liturgy Practicum 1

Key Sources:Helpful Sources:
  • You should be fine with the above.
More to come. . . Thoughts on what other courses you'd like to see the sources "reviewed" for?
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(7 comments Leave a comment)


[User Picture]
Date:September 17th, 2010 05:37 pm (UTC)
Ah, I disagree on a lot of the recommendations. Mallory provides good background, but I wasn't enamored with the book enough to want to buy it. Of course, I appear to be the only one in my library to have checked it out in the past 10 years.

I LOVE LOVE LOVE How to Kill a Dragon, and I think any academically-inclined ADFer should own that book. It has some of the best analysis of myth I've ever seen, and makes certain connections clear that I had puzzled over for years. Also, it's the only time I've seen ADF's central dogma discussed outside of ADF (*ghosti). It is an invaluable source, and I've already read it twice.

Also not as big a fan of AA MacDonnell. He's big into that naturalistic interpretation of myth, which while interesting isn't nearly as helpful as something from a Dumezilian perspective.
[User Picture]
Date:September 17th, 2010 05:42 pm (UTC)
Well, it's not so much about which books are good so much as which ones are useful for someone trying to get through the CTP/IP/GSP. This is a very, very functional list.

I've just used Mallory so much that I have found it better to have it on hand than not to, particularly for the courses with "IE" in their titles. That recommendation is based on how often I went back to use it rather than anything else.

Watkins, for study program use, is only "useful" for a single question, and that question only requires chapter 2.

MacDonnell gives good depth of detail quickly that can be useful for someone who is only familiar with a single hearth culture, so that's why he's included here as a borderline borrow/buy.
[User Picture]
Date:September 17th, 2010 05:46 pm (UTC)
True. I just had to give out some Watkins love. Cuz really, that with Rees & Rees are like the best IE studies books I've ever seen.

I think I get away with not using Mallory all that much (except for IE Studies 1) because I can find a lot of that info in Puhvel or Watkins or what have you.

Just curious, is it normal to have a really extensive bibliography? My CTP bibliography is currently 5 pages long, and I've only done half a dozen courses. That survey question about needing outside sources, well, with the exception of Structures, Customs, and Policy I've needed significant amounts of outside sources. The recommended reading is like nowhere near sufficient. Or, maybe I'm an overachiever.
[User Picture]
Date:September 17th, 2010 05:55 pm (UTC)
Well, I have two bibliographies (and you can see the review process tighten up when you compare them, interestingly enough, as I did my source citations over several years, especially when you compare them to my most recent submissions that had 2009 MLA citations):

Full GSP Bibliography

GSP Bibliography by course (incl. only 8 out of 11 courses for some reason)

That'll give you an idea of how much raw material I worked with, including background reading and such that wasn't directly cited. Not all of it made it into the coursework, but I'd say at least 90% of the second link did, and maybe around 75% of the "full" bibliography did.

So, no, it's not uncommon to hit 5 pages :) I apparently hit 9 :) But I think that does have to do with overacheiving. You can get away with a lot less, if you want to (or are on a tight budget, have a crappy library to borrow from, and virtually no personal library to start with). The best information is spread out among many books, but you can get "passable" information from just a couple.

Edited at 2010-09-17 05:55 pm (UTC)
[User Picture]
Date:September 17th, 2010 06:09 pm (UTC)
It's interesting to see just how different our bibliographies are. And clearly I'm a bit of an overachiever :)
[User Picture]
Date:September 18th, 2010 02:44 am (UTC)
1) I love this post.
2) I wish I had this before I started Magic I.
3) When finished, this should be in Oak Leaves!
[User Picture]
Date:October 21st, 2010 09:34 pm (UTC)
...and the important question is, when will it be finished.

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