Oceanic Mythology (Australia section)

Oceanic Mythology (Australia section), Roland B. Dixon, 1916

  • Australia, #8
  • Free at sacred-texts.com
  • Read September 2014
  • Rating: 1/5
  • Recommended for: No one. Seriously, there are better books about Australian mythology.

Not much to say about this except I’ve gotten through two sections now (Australia and Polynesia) and it’s torture. Dry and colorless, too scholarly to be entertaining storytelling, not quite scholarly enough to be interesting science. This is a collection of myths from various Aboriginal tribes in different parts of Australia; occasionally the author makes an attempt to draw anthropological conclusions from the differences or similarities across geographical regions…but he doesn’t do it nearly often enough to make it the point of the book. Most of the time he just recounts the myths in the most flat, boring language imaginable. Overtly racist toward the people it proposes to study. A sample quote:

Some, like the recently discovered New Guinea pygmies or the now extinct Tasmanians, serve as examples of the lowest stages known in human culture. With their black skins, ugly faces, and short woolly hair they are in striking contrast to the often little more than brunette Polynesians, with their voluptuously beautiful forms and faces and long, wavy hair, or to the lithe, keen-faced, straight-haired Malay, both of whom attained to no mean development on the material as well as on the intellectual side of their respective cultures.

Outdated, methodologically unsound, and devastatingly boring. Do yourself a favor, don’t read this book.

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