Having received her B.A. from Reed College in 1932, Mary Barnard has pursued a varied career as social worker during the Depression, Curator of the Poetry Collection at the Lockwood Memorial Library, and research assistant for Carl Van Doren in the 1940’s. Author of the acclaimed Sappho: A New Translation, Miss Barnard has won Poetry Magazine’s Levinson Award and her work, both poetry and fiction, has appeared in Poetry, Harper’s Bazaar, Yale Review, American Scholar, Saturday Review of Literature and the New Republic. In 1940, a collection of her poems appeared in Five Young American Poets. At present she lives in Vancouver, Washington, where she was born in 1909.
A more recent biography of Mary Barnard is available on Wikipedia.
Challenging the notions prevalent since the Romantics and crystallized in Jung and Frazer, Miss Barnard’s is a lucid and common sense appraisal of the origin of certain myths and mythical personae. Her hope is that a study of the mythology of such intoxicants as maguey, kava, soma and peyote, and the mythology of the moon, the dragon, the shaman, the Pleiades and others will throw light on mythmaking in general.