A Psychological Interpretation of Mythology
The Myth of the Birth of the Hero is an early work by Otto Rank in which he applies the psychoanalytic method to comparative mythology. Rank was one of the first scholars to explore the convergence between classical mythology and the mysteries of the human psyche. Later he was followed by the research of C.G. Jung and Joseph Campbell. In this early visionary work Rank attempted to explore the cross-cultural similarities in myths, folklore and legends in terms of what he believed to be psychological universals. Such recurrent motifs include the heroic quest, the flood myth, and birth-tales of the hero.
In this study Rank looks at a wide variety of Eurasian hero birth narratives, including Greek, Roman, Judeo-Christian, Indian, and Germanic legendary figures. He uses the methodology and vocabulary of classic Freudian psychoanalysis to do so.