L’empire du mythe, originally published in L’empire intérieur by Fata Morgana in 1995, has been translated into English by Jon Graham under the title The Empire of Myth. It is edited by Michael Moynihan.
“In the beginning was the Myth”—or so begins Alain de Benoist’s (un)timely meditation on the meaning of a concept which is infinitely rich with significance, yet notoriously difficult to define. Drawing on philosophy, psychology, sociology, and the history of religions, Benoist examines the relationship between language, poetry, and the “stories of the gods” that most people equate with myth. This opens the door to the even bigger question of how meaning first enters the world—and how, in the spiritual wasteland that is modernity, it disappears.
Yet the mythic dimension is always with us, even if we believe we have somehow transcended it. It is what makes us who we are. This extended essay sets out to ask what myth is from a variety of different perspectives, and provides a concise survey of how some of the greatest thinkers on the subject have answered that question. More importantly, it is a call to re-enter the Empire of Myth. For Benoist, this would be “to experience a revolution as if there had never been one.”
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