Book info

The Golden Bough (1995)

The Golden Bough (1995)
Rating
4 of 5 Votes: 2
ISBN
0684826305 (ISBN13: 9780684826301)
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English
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publisher
touchstone books
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The Golden Bough (1995)
The Golden Bough (1995)

About book: I read this, like many people, because I know how influential it was. I studied English in college, and this book always kept cropping up. So I thought to myself, maybe if I read this, I'll have a greater understanding of Modernist writers. Right...How to describe this? 850 pages of poorly argued drivel. The only part worth reading is the section on sympathetic magic. That part at least actually seems to be going somewhere and actually makes sense. It's an interesting and intelligent way of thinking about rituals throughout the world and throughout the centuries. This "study", however, soon dissolves into an endless list of examples that are both mind-numbing and unnecessary. Any semblance of an argument or point soon becomes lost in the pages and pages of almost useless descriptions of every single ritual Frazer has ever read about. I can't believe that there is a 12 volume version of this floating around somewhere. I would rather gouge my eyes out with spoons.There are two main problems with the Golden Bough:1. Frazer is a terrible writer who can't string together a coherent argument and utterly FAILS at trimming the fat,and...2. Frazer is full of shit. He tries to relate things that have absolutely no relationship merely based on "assuming" that there is an "obvious" similarity between two completely unrelated rituals. Every time I read the words "It is safe to assume that..." or "obviously/clearly" I wanted to punch this guy in the face. It is safe to assume that he obviously is grasping at straws to formulate a thesis that is clearly full of holes. About a couple hundred pages in, I started skipping entire [page long] paragraphs of examples and skimming through the parts that were either extra ridiculous or extra (extra!) boring. I'm convinced that this is the only way to get through this thing. So what have I learned by reading The Golden Bough? I have learned that not only were the modernist writers twisted masochists for reading this but that so am I. Let's leave The Golden Bough in 1922. Where it belongs.

Book DescriptionA classic study of the beliefs and institutions of mankind, and the progress through magic and religion to scientific thought, The Golden Bough has a unique status in modern anthropology and literature. First published in 1890, The Golden Bough was eventually issued in a twelve-volume edition (1906-15) which was abridged in 1922 by the author and his wife. That abridgement has never been reconsidered for a modern audience. In it some of the more controversial passages were dropped, including Frazer's daring speculations on the Crucifixion of Christ. For the first time this one-volume edition restores Frazer's bolder theories and sets them within the framework of a valuable introduction and notes. A seminal work of modern anthropolgy, The Golden Bough also influenced many twentieth-century writers, including D H Lawrence, T S Eliot, and Wyndham Lewis. Its discussion of magical types, the sacrificial killing of kings, the dying god, and the scapegoat is given fresh pertinence in this new edition. About the AuthorSir J. G. Frazer (1854-1941) was fellow of Trinity, Cambridge, and appointed to the first named Chair of Social Anthropology in Liverpool. Robert Frazer is Directer of Studies in English at Trinity College, Cambridge. He is the author of The Making of `The Golden Bough' and Sir James Frazer and the Literary Imagination, both for MacMillan in 1990)
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Reviews
Charles
If you're going to learn about anything "occult", then, this is where to start. Forget all those other cheap, juvenile occult books, based on a poor and feeble-minded outlook on anything Pagan. Once you read this book, you will understand why. Instead of just thinking you can be "pagan", why don't you learn about the where and how of modern and historical pagan's genesis.After you have read this book, 80% of every other modern pagan book will equate to children playing with words.The pace is equal to high school reading. In depth, thorough, extensively cited and resourced.
Olga
O lucrare enorma despre gandirea magica si religioasa a societatilor vechi si a celor necivilizate care abunda in ritualuri si taboouri de tot felul. Frazer, autorul le categorizeaza in magia homeopatica si contagioasa. Magia homeopatica consta in idea ca asemanatorul lucreaza similar originalului. Exemplu clasic ar fi papusa woodoo - papusa reprezinta un oarecare rau si orice rau facut papusei va afecta originalul. Magia contagioasa ar fi ca obiecte sau persoane atinse de alt lucru sau persoana sacra sau marginale vot suferi consecinta mai bune sau mai rele in dependenta de sursa contagiului. Astfel o stofa atinsa de un sfant poate lecui la fel de bine ca si sfantul lipsa; ori o femeie menstruand e impura si va fi izolata caci atingerea sau aspectul ei aduce pacat sau chiar moarte.Cartea apoi urmeaza sa aduca un milion de exemple de diferita ritualuri si taboouri aranjate dupa teme comune. Aduce explicatie diferitor traditii curente.Carte pentru cei interesati in antropologie si mitologie. Eu am obosit de ea.
Nick Black
Influential without bound and ere-breaking of ground, this is undeniably a major modern classic that reshaped its entire field. Of course, most of Frazier's theses have been broadly discredited, but it's not like you're studying comparative mythology to build bridges with it (although it's been proposed that unsold copies of Joseph Campbell, shredded to a fine mist, would provide high-quality industrial weathering and cheap insulation suitable for the Third World).That having been said, this book is incredibly fucking long. Longer than you think, and then twice as long again. It was truly an ordeal to complete -- if you've not the copious free time of an American high school student, you're probably better off scanning Harry Potter for the hidden Golden Dawn / fertility rite references and mumbling lies when this book comes up at parties.Practice with papa dank:"mumble mumble mumble mumble Year King""mumble mumble mumble mumble Religious Evolution""mumble mumble mumble I'm going to open a stinking apostrophe factory with Robert Burns whenever I get back to bonnie Scotland"
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