Drawing from Eastern and Western literature, Heinrich Zimmer presents a selection of stories linked together by their common concern for the problem of our eternal conflict with the forces of evil. Beginning with a tale from the Arabian Nights, this theme unfolds in legends from Irish paganism, medieval Christianity, the Arthurian cycle, and early Hinduism. In the retelling of these tales, Zimmer discloses the meanings within their seemingly unrelated symbols and suggests the philosophical wholeness of this assortment of myth.
The noted Indologist HEINRICH ZIMMER was lecturing at Columbia University when he died in 1943. His other works include: Myths and Symbols in Indian Art and Civilization; Philosophies of India; The King and the Corpse and The Art of Indian Asia.
"This collection of tales, drawn from the West as well as the East, is held
together by the running commentary and also the tension of a continuous
argument." K.R. SRINIVASA IYENGAR
"The tales are all a part of our common cultural heritage; they are
conceived, committed to writing, devoured and apparently forgotten. The few
which survive are blown like a scattering of seeds across the generations."
"...these essays rest upon Zimmer`s belief--a belief which he shares with
Jung and others--that the spiritual heritage of archaic man still survives
in `the deeper unconscious layers of our sourl.` His meditations are a
compound of psychology and mythology. They are ingratiating because they
are not meant to be more than the musings of a learned dilettante."
"This book presents several popular tales from Oriental and Occidental
literature; it explains the symbolic meanings of each important incident
and character; then `there is developed a consistent and courageous
philosophy for modern man,` for the stories are linked one to another by
their mutual concern for the problem of man`s eternal conflict with the
forces of evil."