Tag Archives: nymphs

The Gods of the Greeks

The Gods of the Greeks by Carl Kerényi, a 2004 paperback reprint from Thames & Hudson, is part of the collection at the Reading Room.

Carl Kerényi The Gods of the Greeks from Thames & Hudson

“Drawing on a wealth of sources, from Hesiod to Pausanias and from the Orphic Hymns to Proclus, Professor Kerényi provides a clear and scholarly exposition of all the most important Greek myths. After a brief introduction, the complex genealogies of the gods lead him from the begettings of the Titans and from Aphrodite under all her titles and aspects, to Apollo, Hermes and the reign of Zeus, touching upon the affairs of Pan, nymphs, satyrs, cosmogonies and the birth of mankind, until he reaches the ineffable mysteries of Dionysos. The lively and highly readable narrative is complemented by an appendix of detailed references to all the original texts and a fine selection of illustrations taken from vase paintings.” — back cover


II. His Ruling Symbols from The Philosophy of Shelley’s Poetry in Ideas of Good and Evil by William Butler Yeats.

“often caves are, he says, symbols of ‘all invisible power; because as caves are obscure and dark, so the essence of all these powers is occult,’ and quotes a lost hymn to Apollo to prove that nymphs living in caves fed men ‘from intellectual fountains’; and he contends that fountains and rivers symbolize generation, and that the word nymph ‘is commonly applied to all souls descending into generation,’ and that the two gates of Homer’s cave are the gate of generation and the gate of ascent through death to the gods, the gate of cold and moisture, and the gate of heat and fire.” [via]

II. His Ruling Symbols from The Philosophy of Shelley’s Poetry in Ideas of Good and Evil by William Butler Yeats.

“It may be that his subconscious life seized upon some passing scene, and moulded it into an ancient symbol without help from anything but that great memory; but so good a Platonist as Shelley could hardly have thought of any cave as a symbol, without thinking of Plato’s cave that was the world; and so good a scholar may well have had Porphyry on ‘the Cave of the Nymphs’ in his mind.” [via]