Mythic Sensibility and Mythopoeic Fantasy



Published Nov 3, 2022
Andrew Shamel


Myths and mythopoeic fantasy share a ‘mythic sensibility’ which engages a structuring of one’s perception of the world and which enables a kind of miraculous revelation. The term ‘mythic sensibility’ is adapted from Graham Ward’s studies of belief and the imagination. Ward writes that ‘myth is a sensibility about being in the world registered in the awakening of the creative imagination and intensifying around objects… It invests these objects with communicative vibrations. It gives them mythic resonance. From these vibrations figures and eventually stories emerge as we make sense of them.’ This making sense represents a seeing as, a dynamic by which the world is not encountered in an unmediated or uninterpreted way, but as always already having undergone a hermeneutic moment. Engaging with a text bearing this mythic sensibility gives the mythic text a kind of presence, making sense of the world and the self. In this essay, I argue that this being-present is distinctive of the phenomenology of the mythic and that the mythic sensibility can be described as the sense of an interpretive presence and that this dynamic is not fundamentally inseparable from religious faith.

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Myth, Mythopoeic Fantasy, Faith, Literature and Theology