The essays on this site, a complement to my blog MythicAmerica.us, offer an introduction to the main themes and issues in the study of American myths, as I see them.
The United States is a very real place, a political state full of very real land, people, things, resources, and much more. America is a mythic place — the version and the vision of the United States that Americans conjure up in their minds when they imagine what their nation is, what it has been, what it could be; what its role in the world is, has been, and could be; what their own role in the nation is and might be; what it means to be an American.
MythicAmerica is a place to take to explore:
- the mythic visions that have shaped American life, especially political life, as they’ve been expressed in explicit or implicit narratives
- the taken-for-granted assumptions that the myths convey
- the symbolic images that are the building blocks of America’s myths
- the way myths and symbols shape our perceptions of and responses to contemporary events
- new myths that foster more constructive possibilities for America and Americans in the future.
For a quick overview, read “About Mythic America.”
The essays on this site:
“The Meaning of ‘Myth’ in the American Context” offers one interpretation of myth and its role in American political and cultural life.
“Why and How to Study American Myths” offers some thoughts on the motives and methods of these essays.
“The Two Great American Mythologies” is an essay in three parts, exploring the mythologies I call “Hope and Change”and “Homeland Insecurity,” and the interaction between the two.
“Alternatives: In Search of New Mythologies” is an exploratory work, constantly in progress
I cordially invite your comments, even disagreements. My main goal is to get a conversation going on this all-too-understudied subject. To join the conversation about Mythic America, please comment on any essay, check out the latest posts on MythicAmerica.us. , and “like” Mythic America on Facebook. To receive periodic summaries of the MythicAmerica.us blog by email, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, with “Update” in the subject line and you’ll be added to the email list. Use the same email address to contact me personally.
In addition to writing MythicAmerica.us, I also write columns occasionally on other websites I’ve been contributing to for a long time. You can read my recent columns here.