‘…history became legend, legend became myth…’
What a pleasant conceit, to suppose that this process produces myth. Whilst undoubtedly true for many legends the process can also work the other way. Many legends for example have produced history. Pre-eminently in this respect, at least for Britain, is ‘King Arthur’ whose story the scholars do indeed now refer to as a mythos.
But what is really going on here?
It is probably more accurate to regard all these forms as stories. We are not supposed to regard History as a story but as ‘recorded fact’ and also ‘true’, but well, really, the clue is in the name. So why do we set such store by stories? The clue is in the question.
The truth of stories lies in a realm other than the literal. And what is ‘the literal’ anyway’?
‘The literal is something that actually happened.’
‘And what do we mean by something?’
‘We mean an ‘act’.’
‘Do we mean an act in a play?’
‘No, we mean a physical act; we mean the physical actions of a person.’
‘What, any act, and any person?’
‘Usually a significant act and a significant person’…
Continue reading at The Silent Eye