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from Wikipedia’s entry on mythopeia:

Mythopoeia (also mythopoesis, after Hellenistic Greek ?????????, ??????????? “myth-making”) is a narrative genre in modern literature and film where a fictional mythology was created by the author or screenwriter. The word mythopoeia and description was coined and developed by J. R. R. Tolkien in the 1930s. The authors in this genre integrate traditional mythological themes and archetypes into fiction. Mythopoeia is also the act of making (creating) such mythologies.

While many literary works carry mythic themes, only a few approach the dense self-referentiality and purpose of mythopoeia. It is invented mythology that, rather than arising out of centuries of oral tradition, are penned over a short period of time by a single author or small group of collaborators.

from Wikipedia’s entry on mythopoeic thought:

Mythopoeic thought is a hypothetical stage of human thought preceding modern thought, proposed by Henri Frankfort and his wife Henriette Antonia Frankfort in the 1940s. According to this proposal, there was a “mythopoeic” stage, in which humanity did not think in terms of generalizations and impersonal laws: instead, humans saw each event as an act of will on the part of some personal being. This way of thinking supposedly explains the ancients’ tendency to create myths, which portray events as acts of gods and spirits.

The Frankforts argue that mythopoeic thought explains the tolerance of seeming contradictions in mythology. According to the Frankforts’ theory, the ancients didn’t try to unite different experiences under a universal law; instead, they took each individual experience at face value. Therefore, they sometimes took one experience and developed a myth from it, and took a different experience and developed a different myth from it, without worrying whether those two myths contradicted each other…

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