Review of "The Atlantic as Mythical Space: An Essay on Medieval Ethea"

Congratulations to Alfonso J. Garcia-Osuna, the author of the book "The Atlantic as Mythical Space: An Essay on Medieval Ethea" for receiving a review from John B. Roney (Sacred Heart University) appearing in 'Irish Historical Studies', Volume 47 Issue 172, pp. 337-354:

Ever since Johan Huizinga‘s reassessment of the medieval mind (‘Herfstij der Middeleeuwen’, 1919) as a passionate intensity, scholars have sought to understand pre-scientific perceptions of nature. Garcia-Osuna’s medieval Ethea captures this point; the hero's moral fiamework and perception strategies reflected their assimilation of society’s communal codes for perceiving, judging, and acting: ‘Those codes are the source of the hero’s supply of implicit knowledge’ (p. 222). At the centre of this study is a reconsideration of the rote of myth in the medieval view of the Atlantic Ocean. Garcia-Osuna proposes that an explanation of reality offered by myth ‘is just as valid as that offered by science in the sense that, as a human social construct, “reality”  is effectively intertwined with human experience. ...The legitimacy of myth, then, flows from its ability to supply human beings with a coherent, qualitative method of interpreting reality through metaphorical patterns and symbolic archetypes’ […]

[Extract from book review at 'Irish Historical Studies', Volume 47 Issue 172, pp. 337-354. Reviewer: John B. Roney (Sacred Heart University)]

Find out more about the book here: "The Atlantic as Mythical Space: An Essay on Medieval Ethea"

'The Atlantic as Mythical Space' is a study of medieval culture and its concomitant myths, legends and fantastic narratives as it developed along the European Atlantic seaboard. It is an inclusive study that touches upon early medieval Ireland, the pre-Hispanic Canary Islands, the Iberian Peninsula, courtly-love France and the pagan and early-Christian British Isles. The obvious and consequential ligature that runs throughout the different sections of this text is the Atlantic Ocean, a bewildering expanse of mythical substance that for centuries fueled the imagination of ocean-side peoples. It analyzes how and why myths with the Atlantic as preferential stage are especially relevant in pagan and early-Christian western Europe. It further examines how prescientific societies fashioned an alternate cosmos in the Atlantic where events, beings and places existed in harmony with communal mental structures. It explores why in that contrived geography these societies’ angels and monsters were able to materialize with wonderful profusion; it further analyzes how the ocean became a place where human beings ventured forth searching for explanations for what is essentially unknowable: the origins of the universe and the reason for our existence in it.

Title The Atlantic as Mythical Space: An Essay on Medieval Ethea [Hardback]
Edition 1st
ISBN 978-1-64889-173-1
Published in January 2023

Page last updated on February 16th 2024. All information correct at the time, but subject to change.