Myths can tolerate any kind of treatment except indifference or the solicitousness of historical scholarship; for as soon as a passion for accuracy sets in and people begin to point out ‘mistakes’ or ‘medieval impurities’ in Spenser’s mythology, the literary scene is very soon cluttered with what Bush calls ‘plaster reproductions of the antique’. Being a product of recapitulatory processes, modern man might easily regress into the savagery from which he has so recently emerged, unless he takes care to avoid ancestral patterns of behaviour. A modern writer who cultivates mythic consciousness is in these terms a sort of evolutionary throwback, a living fossil, perhaps even a psychopathological degenerate. Those who emphasize differences between myths and literature think in terms of form-and-content categories. Myths can be weakened but hardly annihilated by disbelief; for a successful mythology is one which encourages people to invent new and more reputable reasons for believing in it after the old ones are no longer tenable.