Bulfinch’s Mythology is a highly successful popularization of Greek mythology for English-speaking readers.
Carl J. Richard comments that it was “one of the most popular books ever published in the United States and the standard work on classical mythology for nearly a century”. The book is a prose recounting of myth and stories from Greek and Roman mythology.
Thomas Bulfinch intersperses the stories with his own commentary, and with quotations from writings by his contemporaries that refer to the story under discussion. This combination of classical elements and modern literature was novel for his time. Bulfinch expressly intended his work for the general reader. In the preface he states: “Our work is not for the learned, nor for the theologian, nor for the philosopher, but for the reader of English literature, of either sex, who wishes to comprehend the allusions so frequently made by public speakers, lecturers, essayists, and poets, and those which occur in polite conversation”.
Although these stories gathered and retold by Thomas Bulfinch, a respected 19th century scholar, were created and first recorded many years ago, they still speak to the contemporary reader. The myths created by the ancient Greek and Romans reflect man’s enduring emotions: jealousy and hatred, compassion and devotion. And they deal with the challenges that still confront man – the search of truth, for a deeper understanding of the natural world and of man’s own nature.