Tuesday, August 26, 2008

A new site for comparative mythology studies

Ulmo, Lord of Waters (Detail) © 2003 by John HoweLast month, my friend Randy Hoyt (who is, incidentally, the webmaster for the Mythopoeic Society) launched “a new online magazine devoted to the study of myth — particularly comparative mythology and the role of myth in our everyday lives.”

The online ’zine takes its name from Tuor’s journey to the sea to meet Ulmo, as Randy explains here. Depictions of those rare personal encounters between gods and lesser beings have the potential to be extremely powerful, especially when handled by a writer with Tolkien’s skill. (C.S. Lewis and G.K. Chesterton had this gift as well; let me refer readers to Till We Have Faces and The Man Who Was Thursday.) The choice of “Journey to the Sea”, therefore, seems very appropriate indeed — representing a place for deeply mythical experiences at the margins between the domains of the gods and of men, or between the quotidian world and Faërie.

Two issues have been published so far: Issue 1 (July 1, 2008), and Issue 2 (August 1, 2008). If all goes as expected, we should have another issue next week. Randy, I assume you are working on this now? The site is beautifully designed, too, with muted grey-scale illustrations, and the kind of balance between illustrations and text, and between white space and content, that could only come from a professional web developer (which Randy indeed happens to be). For the sake of comparison, visit just about any page on MySpace or LiveJournal (which I’m convinced have set web design back at least a decade).

Reading over these two issues, I particularly enjoyed the article on Milton’s Satan. Why don’t you stop by and see which ones speak to you. And if you keep coming back, you may just find a contribution by yours truly in the not too distant future.


  1. Thanks for mentioning Journey to the Sea on this site; I'm glad you are enjoying it so far! Yes, I was working on the issue three at the time you wrote this post, and that issue is now available:

    * The Disobedience of Iblis in Sufism -- I look at the story of the disobedience of Iblis in the Qur'an for which some Islamic theologians provide interpretations that surprisingly reflect aspects of the humanistic theme.

    * Magic in the World of Alvin Maker: Prentice Alvin -- Laura concludes her look at Orson Scott Card's Alvin Maker series with the third book, Prentice Alvin, in which Card confronts the horror of slavery and its consequences for American identity.

    * Taking Harry Potter Seriously -- I interviewed Travis Prinzi about the Harry Potter series. At his popular web site and in his forthcoming book, Travis claims that the series should be taken seriously as literature.

  2. Thanks for the new links! Now if only you could work Battlestar Galactica’s Count Iblis in, you could probably double your readership! :)