The Other Side of Virtue

The Other Side of Virtue by Brendan Myers, Ph.D.

Using ancient heroic epics and sagas like Beowulf, the Illiad and Odyssey, the Eddas, the Tain Bo Cuailnge, and literature inspired by them including the works of the Renaissance and Romanticism, Shakespeare, Tolkien, and J.K. Rowling, this book explains the world-view that gave birth to our virtues. In that world-view, life involves inevitable confrontations with inexplicable events like fortune, nature, other people, and death itself.

I really liked this book, as it took the discussion of virtue back beyond the Christian era and into our Pagan past. And not only did it do this but it also brought the discussion into the present by looking at our modern portrayal of virtue through the mouths of Frodo and Sam, and Harry Potter.

But even greater than all this is the author’s words and teachings concerning facing of the common challenges of human existence, or as he poetically puts it ‘The Immensities.’

Here’s a reading performed by the author himself:

The book is a truly inspirational read that deserves to be on the well-read bookshelf of all.

Dr Brendan Myer’s website, which contains a number of his writings, can be found at: .



  1. Kullervo said,

    7 April, 2009 at 12:32 am

    I got this book for Christmas and was really excited about it… but then I found the book itself to be severely disappointing. It just seemed like it was an cobbled-together narrative of ethical development, aimed basically at legitimizing postmodern pluralist liberalism. I somehow imagined before I started reading that I would walk away from the book challenged by timeless conceptions of virtue that may in fact be at odds with our society’s norms and values. But instead I feel like all Myers served up was a sketchy, vague, and re-heated justification for exactly what he (and probably the overwhelming majority of his readers) already believed anyway.

    Its a justification for existing values working from the present backward, not the other way around, which is sort of how it is presented.

  2. Michael Bark said,

    10 April, 2009 at 6:23 pm

    I’m sorry that you found it such a disappointment, as you have gathered, I enjoyed it very much.

    It taught me a little about past societies and their ideas of virtue and even more than this I found his presentation of humanity’s ‘Immensities’ thought provoking.

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