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SCHOLARLY BOOKS ON LABYRINTHS


The Maze and the Warrior, by Craig Wright
This book has an astounding amount of musicological research attempting to connect Medieval labyrinths with the songs and ceremonies for which they may have been used. I take great exception to the author's comments about Chartres Cathedral. In his field he is highly accomplished, but when it comes to Chartres Cathedral, its architecture, and the meaning of its labyrinth, he wanders too far from his area of expertise. Incredibly, he has found in some ancient archives, a drawing of the labyrinth once at Sens Cathedral, previously a matter of speculation.

The Idea of the Labyrinth from Classical Antiquity through the Middle Ages, by Penelope Reed Doub. This book follows a pattern I have seen before. A scholar gets the grants, does the research, writes the book, then goes on to other things. There are some interesting parts to this book and I find its content to be worthwhile. What's missing is a personal passion for labyrinths.

The Labyrinth of New Harmony, Indiana
This is a book dedicated to a very specific hedge maze, its history, and the replica that was built in the years before this book was written in 1941. Although the replica is a maze, recent scholarship indicates that the original was likely unicursal (a single path). There is a movement towards changing back. New Harmony also has a beautiful Chartres labyrinth known as the Cathedral Labyrinth and Sacred Garden. It's an extraordinary town well worth a visit.

Lion Gate and Labyrinth: The World of Troy, Crete, and Mycenae, by Hans Baumann
This isn't a book about using labyrinths in our current sense. It's a can't-put-it-down account of the first archeological discoveries at the end of the 19th century to prove the existence of places and characters in Greek myth and to show that they really existed. Of course Theseus and the Minotaur are mentioned, and the labyrinth as well, but not as a main theme.

Labyrinth: Studies on an Archetype, by Gaetano Cipolla
The Maze in the Mind and the World: Labyrinths in Modern Literature, by Donald Gutierrez
There are a number of books that use the labyrinth as a literary metaphor, or discuss literature which itself uses the labyrinth for that purpose. These are two examples.

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