chapter  2
18 Pages

The Creation Myth

WithFrederick Turner

The creation myth is one of those "family features" of epic that are not often found in a fully expressed form, but which seem to specially characterize the genre. Hints of its underlying presence are everywhere in epic, not necessarily in an overt and full treatment, but more explicitly, consciously, and centrally than is the case in other genres of a given culture. Some epics will include the human part of the creation story—most often the later part, since the physical world is usually created before its inhabitants—as a way to indicate how the hero story is to be taken. Monotheism tends at the beginning to reject any natural creative capacity and thus to disenchant the physical world, because its main competition is local gods and natural spirits. In a sense the whole of the rest of an epic—beyond its implicit or explicit creation story—is devoted to defining the rules of recombination.