Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Words From the Myths, by Isaac Asimov

The writing of Words from the Myths
In Joy Still Felt (1954-1978), pg 190
"There were still tow chapters of The Intelligent Man's Guide to Science remaining to be written, but if Svirsky were planning to eviscerate the book, I had no intention of writing them. Nor, of course, would I return the advance. Nor would I discuss the matter with him and subject myself to the temptation of compromise.

On March 1, [1960] I simply started another book altogether, Words from the Myths. It was my intention to retell the Greek myths and point out that many English words were obtained from them or were reminiscent of one or another aspect of those myths.

The writing of Words from the Myths was perfect balm for my wounded spirit. It was forty thousand words long and took just 12 days to do.

It was the first book I wrote without any preliminary discussion with any editor. I was getting confident enough of my ability to assume that some publisher or other was bound to want any book I cared to write.

On March 14, 1960 I took it to Austin Olney, since it was he who had done Words of Science, and this new book could be viewed as a companion piece. There was no trouble at all. He liked it, asked for a few very minor changes, and then I got my contract.

I purchased Words From The Myths form's used-book program a few days ago, received it today.

In Words of Science, which went into three large printings during its first year of publication, Isaac Asimov described the odd histories and derivations of hundreds of scientific terms. Now in this book, he explores the Greek myths to discover the roots of hundreds of words that have entered into our daily language and the results are equally fascinating.

These ancient legends have always been an integral part of our culture. But even those who are familiar with Greek mythology will be surprised to see how Professor Asimov's approach adds fresh meaning and depth both to the stories and to the words we have inherited from them.

Words from the myths surround us from the time we eat our Cereal in the morning to when we sink into the arms of Morpheus at night; when we are Saturnine or Jovial; when we hear a siren or listen to music. They are particularly important scientific vocabulary, especially in the field of Astronomy and it is not without accident that our missiles bear such names as Atlas and Titan.

The dull and boring cover with the yellow stripe across the top is the hardback, the all black cover is paperback.

Table of Contents
1. The Beginning
2. The Titans
3. The Olympians
4. The Children of Zeus
5. Demigods and Monsters
6. Tales of Men
7. The Heroes
8. The Siege of Troy
General index
Mythological index

No comments:

Post a Comment