The ""profuse"" illustrations (which we have not seen) promised by the publisher may prove to be a mixed blessing, since the fragile, expostulary text may lie forever unread on the ten dollar-book coffee table. The author sets out to track the incidence and distinguishing movements of the hero myth vertically ascending through the ages and laterally through religion, legends, art and thought. ""Myths of the heroes depict. . . the eternal battle we wage to release the creative 'energies within ourselves and in the world."" The many aspects of the hero--supplied here by entertaining recreations of representative myths, tales, etc., illustrations, quotes from other myth-matchers--are roughed-up in countless interpretations. A few are outrageously free-style: the fact that Goliath is ""choked with earth"" indicates that the ""past. . . dare not suffocate the productive energy of the evolving future."" However, in her gamboling commentary, Miss Norman makes an attractive, if necessarily airborne, case for ""relentlessly pursuing the hero myth to identify ourselves with the strivings,"" to opt for the death-defying in the constant polarization of dark and light, in our world, ourselves and our times. Intriguing but special.