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So, can anybody vouch for ABC-Clio?

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  • So, can anybody vouch for ABC-Clio?

    OK, so for the last day or two I've been leafing through ABC-Clio's Handbook of Japanese Mythology. I've been enjoying what I've been reading; it seems to do a good job of presenting the material with a minimum of dumbing-down, but also doesn't really ask so much prior or scholastic knowledge as to be impenetrable to a layman. They have quite a few of these handbooks, and I look forward to checking them out, too.

    Of course, that's all moot if the material itself is unreliable, and I don't really have the background necessary to make that sort of assessment myself. So, does there happen to be anybody around here who might be familiar with these specific publications, and who can vouch for their content?

  • #2
    It looks like the sort of thing that is a good starting point if you are totally unfamiliar with it. (My personal knowledge of the subject is very limited, so take that with a grain of salt.)


    What is tolerance? It is the consequence of humanity. We are all formed of frailty and error; let us pardon reciprocally each other's folly. That is the first law of nature.
    Voltaire, "Tolerance" (1764)

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Center-of-All View Post
      OK, so for the last day or two I've been leafing through ABC-Clio's Handbook of Japanese Mythology. I've been enjoying what I've been reading; it seems to do a good job of presenting the material with a minimum of dumbing-down, but also doesn't really ask so much prior or scholastic knowledge as to be impenetrable to a layman. They have quite a few of these handbooks, and I look forward to checking them out, too.

      Of course, that's all moot if the material itself is unreliable, and I don't really have the background necessary to make that sort of assessment myself. So, does there happen to be anybody around here who might be familiar with these specific publications, and who can vouch for their content?
      The Handbooks of Mythology series is generally very good, I constantly use them as quick reference material! Some of them I'm personally not very fond of (the Handbook of Native American Mythology for the obvious scope issues, and the Handbook of Chinese Mythology for treating only the ancient myths, not the Buddhist and Daoist ones), but generally, the series is a God-sent! Many of the books are written by eminent expert (Kay Read for Mesoamerica, John Lindow for the Norse, Geraldine Pinch for Egypt), so have no worries about reliability. The only thing to keep in mind is that they're introductory-level material, so there's always more digging to do.

      The Handbook of Japanese Mythology is, in my opinion, especially well-done. It's scope is impressive, including both Buddhist and Shinto figures and even the most important names from the Ainu and Ryukyu Islanders, who aren't even "traditionally" Japanese. Also, it includes heroes as well as gods, and thus is a truly comprehensive reference guide. Yet, at the same time, I love how short and readable Ashkenazi keeps all of his entries - I'd be nothing without this book! Two others I can recommend especially warmly are Kay Read's Handbook of Mesoamerican Mythology (not so much for readability, Read has a bad habit of making the most fascinating topics incredibly boring; but it contains lots of information on modern Nahua myths and practices that hasn't been published otherwise!) and Robert D. Craig's Handbook of Polynesian Mythology (not so much for scope, this time, as it's fairly superficial, but it was my first reading on Polynesian mythology, and I think it gave me a good start; also, try to get his Dictionary of Polynesian Mythology as a companion, that one is amazing: an encyclopedia of literally every figure, place, and creature ever to appear by name in any Polynesian mythological tradition!). So, yeah, in general, the series is warmly recommended

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      • #4
        Ah, fantastic! Thank you for that, Sacerdos, good to know I haven't been barking up a dead end. And I'll keep everything you've said in mind. Kinda disappointed on Chinese, I was going to check that one out next, partially because I saw how varied the Japanese book took "Japanese" to mean, and I hoped the other would follow suit. I suppose you can't have everything, though.

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