Origins of the Sacred: The Ecstasies of Love and War

Dudley Young, Author St. Martin's Press $24.95 (378p) ISBN 978-0-312-06432-7
In Young's reckoning, the primitive mind recognized that the energies leading to love and war overlap. But with the advent of the scientific worldview, he contends, we have lost touch with the wellsprings of myth: patriarchy marginalized erotic love, while the rites that monitored and refined hunting and aggression have atrophied. Professor of literature at the University of Essex in England, Young treads speculative waters in discussing the bloodlust of chimpanzees, early human love on the African savannah, the birth of language out of ``a grammar of the sacred'' and paleolithic peoples' psychic defenses against slipping back into cannibalism and religious frenzy. A grand synthesis in the tradition of Robert Lowell and Joseph Campbell, weighed down by demanding prose, this bold, stimulating inquiry seeks to restore to the modern world ``the feminine touch . . . our chief stay against violence.'' Young leaps from the art of Minoan Crete to Genesis and Gilgamesh to T. S. Eliot, deconstructing ``the scientific myth'' in search of mythic roots. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 09/30/1991
Release date: 10/01/1991
Hardcover - 978-0-517-13263-0
Paperback - 544 pages - 978-0-06-097511-1
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