Looking at Myth Part Two: Wendy Doniger and the Implied Spider

I honestly don’t know what to say about this book. I’ve managed to get three chapters in and I’m done. I don’t want to read any more. Over the course of three days, I’ve managed to read a chapter a day. And about five pages in, I need to lay down and take a nap. In other words, this book is boring. Really boring.

Now, that is not to say that Doniger does not have some interesting ideas. Her metaphor of the microscope and the telescope is inspired. And, given how far I got, some of her other metaphors are equally interesting.

But that does not negate the fact that the book itself is tiresome. And perhaps a little sloppy.

Stories and ideas are thrown about in a (seemingly) personal order that does not really add much to the overall thesis. If you ask me.

Before I go on, I should probably take the time to discuss the types of scholarship I like to read.

I like a certain amount of rigor with my scholarship. Stick to the thesis and make things clear for the reader. And do leave the personal out of scholarship. I’m really not interested.

When L.B. Gale called Doniger the modern successor to Joseph Campbell, she hits the nail on the head. Doniger’s style is highly reminiscent of Campbell’s. The only difference is that Doniger tends to use more contemporary analytical tools and a penchant for the personal.

Now, by personal, I’m not talking about Doniger’s own personal life. Rather, what I am talking about is the personal to everyone. The narrative reads like a pop psychology book at times. And I find that style extremely tiresome. Never have been a fan of psychoanalysis.

Despite my issues with The Implied Spider (and the fact that I stopped reading after the third chapter), there is value in this book for sf writers. Obviously the metaphor of the microscope and the telescope comes to mind. And I am sure that there other possible inspirational avenues for readers who manage to read further along than I have.

So, where does that leave this little project? I guess completed for now. I think I’ll hold off on any actual posts on possible routes of implementation when I have some concrete examples.


Here is a preview of what else I’m working on this week: A rant I’m building up to. A review of A Princess of Mars. And, of course, a review of Chris Colfer’s The Wishing Spell.


Posted on September 24, 2012, in Books and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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