Introduced to literary studies by Eric J. Gould, based on Wilhelm Dupré's use of the term in Religion in Primitive Cultures, "mythicity" refers to mythic consicousness, the way the mind makes meaning by pulling into the same frame of reference for interpretation our (human) experience as though everything sensible were part of an Archetypal and Mythological psychology.

In 1975, Wilhelm Dupré used the term in Religion in Primitive Cultures to introduce

“the ‘mythic’ modality” which unites the depth of time and space [. . .] toward the invisible, ideational, and universal. In other words, mythicity is not only the meta-empirical reality of man’s consciousness, which assimilates the empirical world as the manifestation of meaning, but it also initiates a movement to leave behind all figures and mythological concretizations. (264, 67)

This is as much to say “myth is the most interdisciplinary narrative,” while making explicit other aspects of a post-modern view of consciousness itself. Dupré’s “modality” suggests an interpretive approach which understands ideas like “time and space” as framing experience figurally, as non-literal expressions. He goes on to propose a consciousness that is mythic and “meta-” which suggests an attentive interpretive style, perhaps as metanoia, for example, implies a process-level reflection and fundamental change based on experience. Finally, he virtually recapitulates the archetypal view by connecting mythic consciousness with both “the empirical world” and the making of meaning such that mythicity dissolves “mythological concretizations.”

Eric Gould takes mythicity further in a post-modern direction, noticing that contemporary mythography effects its own recovery from the utilitarian reductions of modernism through disappearance. Myth recovers itself by becoming absent as a literal thing, dissolving its use as a label for other people’s ideas about divinity and reemerging more true to itself as a non-literal, fictionally altered state of consciousness: “pure mythicity[. . .] in which a sign or a system of signs is full and open-ended at once” (Mythical Intentions in Modern Literature 119). “System of signs” and “full and open-ended at once” are two more ways of giving “mythological” its post-modern sense.

William Doty credits Gould’s Mythical Intentions in Modern Literature with developing the concept of mythicity as “the philosophical function of the mythic as an element of consciousness” (Doty Mythography 1st Ed. 241), he draws the line of Dupré’s “meta-empirical reality of man’s consciousness” through Gould, into James Hillman’s indication of the pervasiveness of mythicity by proposing a “mythical style of consciousness” (Re-Visioning 100). One of the primary functions of post-modern mythographers, as distinct from critics of literature, students of religion, and social theorists, is to make clear that myth can no longer be thought of by unconsciously mythic disciplines as a handy tool or undeveloped terrain ideal for planting with progressive ideas and putting to some use. Mythography, or mythological studies and creativity, has not only its own rubrics but also reflects an understanding of human consciousness that is central to both ancient and contemporary thought, even beyond what is termed post-modern. Doty follows Hillman into the latter’s “animated mythological terrain” (Doty Mythography 2nd Ed. 211) based on myth being no-longer-a-thing in the hand of literal agendas but, where functionalisms are concerned, being an “‘absence’—which of course means that any putatively rationalistic epistemology cannot be used for the study of mythology” (Mythography 2nd Ed. 453). That is as much to say that mythologies are absent, effectively invisible to any approach based on the commonplace that knowledge is based on reason rather than experience, instead of seeing the two as inextricable.

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