THE GOLDEN BOUGH (The Worldwide Bestseller) by Sir James George Frazer [Nook Special Edition] One of The Most Influential Book Ever Written [Influence on James Joyce, T.S. Eliot, Ernst Hemingway, D.H. Lawrence, Ezra Pound and Many Others] NOOKBook [NOOK Book]

Overview

The Golden Bough: A Study in Magic and Religion is a wide-ranging, comparative study of mythology and religion, written by Scottish anthropologist Sir James George Frazer (1854–1941). It first was published in two volumes in 1890; the third edition, published 1906–15, comprised twelve volumes. It was aimed at a broad literate audience raised on tales as told in such publications as Thomas Bulfinch's The Age of Fable, or Stories of Gods and Heroes (1855). It offered a modernist approach to discussing religion, ...
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THE GOLDEN BOUGH (The Worldwide Bestseller) by Sir James George Frazer [Nook Special Edition] One of The Most Influential Book Ever Written [Influence on James Joyce, T.S. Eliot, Ernst Hemingway, D.H. Lawrence, Ezra Pound and Many Others] NOOKBook

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Overview

The Golden Bough: A Study in Magic and Religion is a wide-ranging, comparative study of mythology and religion, written by Scottish anthropologist Sir James George Frazer (1854–1941). It first was published in two volumes in 1890; the third edition, published 1906–15, comprised twelve volumes. It was aimed at a broad literate audience raised on tales as told in such publications as Thomas Bulfinch's The Age of Fable, or Stories of Gods and Heroes (1855). It offered a modernist approach to discussing religion, treating it dispassionately as a cultural phenomenon rather than from a theological perspective. The impact of The Golden Bough on contemporary European literature was substantial.

The book scandalized the British public upon its first publication, because it included the Christian story of Jesus in its comparative study, thus inviting an agnostic reading of the Lamb of God as a relic of a pagan religion. Frazer removed his analysis of the Crucifixion to a speculative appendix for the third edition, and it was entirely missing from the single-volume abridged edition.

Its influence on the emerging discipline of anthropology was pervasive and undeniable. For example, Bronisław Malinowski, stricken with tuberculosis shortly after receiving his doctorate in physics and mathematics, read Frazer's work in the original English to distract himself from his illness. "No sooner had I read this great work than I became immersed in it and enslaved by it. I realized then that anthropology, as presented by Sir James Frazer, is a great science, worthy of as much devotion as any of her elder and more exact studies and I became bound to the service of Frazerian anthropology."

Despite whatever controversy the work may have generated, and its critical reception amongst other scholars, The Golden Bough had a tremendous effect on the literature of the period. Robert Graves adapted Frazer's concept of the dying king who is sacrificed for the good of the kingdom to the romantic idea of the poet's necessary suffering for the sake of his Muse-Goddess in his Frazer-esque book on poetry, rituals, and myths, The White Goddess, which was published in 1948. William Butler Yeats makes reference to it in his poem, "Sailing to Byzantium". H. P. Lovecraft mentions the book in his short story "The Call of Cthulhu". T. S. Eliot acknowledged indebtedness to Frazer in his first note to his poem The Waste Land. William Carlos Williams references it as well in Book Two, part two, of his extended poem in five books, Paterson. James Joyce, Ernest Hemingway, D. H. Lawrence, Aleister Crowley, Ezra Pound, William Gaddis, Mary Renault, Joseph Campbell, Roger Zelazny, Naomi Mitchison (in her The Corn King and the Spring Queen), and Camille Paglia are but a few authors deeply influenced by The Golden Bough. Its literary impact has given it continued life. The "Golden Bough" is also one of the three books owned by fiction persona Walt Kurtz interpreted by Marlon Brando in Francis Ford Coppola's Apocalypse Now.
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Meet the Author

Sir James George Frazer FRS FRSE FBA OM (1 January 1854, Glasgow – 7 May 1941, Cambridge), was a Scottish social anthropologist influential in the early stages of the modern studies of mythology and comparative religion. He is often considered to be the father of modern anthropology.

His most famous work, The Golden Bough, documents and details similar magical and religious beliefs across the globe. Frazer posited that human belief progressed through three stages: primitive magic, replaced by religion, in turn replaced by science.

Born in Glasgow, Frazer attended school at Springfield Academy and Larchfield Academy in Helensburgh. He studied at the University of Glasgow and Trinity College, Cambridge, where he graduated with honors in Classics (his dissertation would be published years later as The Growth of Plato's Ideal Theory) and remained a Classics Fellow all his life. He went on from Trinity to study law at the Middle Temple and yet never practised. He was four times elected to Trinity's Title Alpha Fellowship, and was associated with the college for most of his life, except for a year, 1907–1908, spent at the University of Liverpool. He was knighted in 1914, and a public lectureship in social anthropology at the universities of Cambridge, Oxford, Glasgow and Liverpool was established in his honour in 1921. He was, if not blind, then severely visually impaired from 1930 on. He and his wife, Lily, died within a few hours of each other. They are buried at the Ascension Parish Burial Ground in Cambridge, England.
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