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Golden Bough (Wordsworth Collection) [Englisch] [Taschenbuch]

J G Frazer
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Taschenbuch, 6. September 1995 --  


6. September 1995 Wordsworth Collection
Sir James George Frazer (1854-1941) is rightly regarded as one of the founders of modern anthropology. The Golden Bough, his masterpiece, appeared in twelve volumes between 1890 and 1915. This volume is the author's own abridgement of his great work, and was first published in 1922. Remarkable for its vast assembly of facts and its charm of presentation, it offers the thesis that man progresses from magic through religious belief to scientific thought. It discusses fertility rites, human sacrifice, the dying god, the scapegoat and many other symbols and practices which have influenced a whole generation of 20th century writers, including D.H. Lawrence, Ezra Pound and T.S. Eliot.

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  • Taschenbuch: 763 Seiten
  • Verlag: Wordsworth Editions; Auflage: New edition (6. September 1995)
  • Sprache: Englisch
  • ISBN-10: 1853263109
  • ISBN-13: 978-1853263101
  • Größe und/oder Gewicht: 4,1 x 12,5 x 19,6 cm
  • Durchschnittliche Kundenbewertung: 4.1 von 5 Sternen  Alle Rezensionen anzeigen (8 Kundenrezensionen)
  • Amazon Bestseller-Rang: Nr. 97.504 in Fremdsprachige Bücher (Siehe Top 100 in Fremdsprachige Bücher)
  • Komplettes Inhaltsverzeichnis ansehen

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Before Joseph Campbell became the world's most famous practitioner of comparative mythology, there was Sir James George Frazer. The Golden Bough was originally published in two volumes in 1890, but Frazer became so enamored of his topic that over the next few decades he expanded the work sixfold, then in 1922 cut it all down to a single thick edition suitable for mass distribution. The thesis on the origins of magic and religion that it elaborates "will be long and laborious," Frazer warns readers, "but may possess something of the charm of a voyage of discovery, in which we shall visit many strange lands, with strange foreign peoples, and still stranger customs." Chief among those customs--at least as the book is remembered in the popular imagination--is the sacrificial killing of god-kings to ensure bountiful harvests, which Frazer traces through several cultures, including in his elaborations the myths of Adonis, Osiris, and Balder.

While highly influential in its day, The Golden Bough has come under harsh critical scrutiny in subsequent decades, with many of its descriptions of regional folklore and legends deemed less than reliable. Furthermore, much of its tone is rooted in a philosophy of social Darwinism--sheer cultural imperialism, really--that finds its most explicit form in Frazer's rhetorical question: "If in the most backward state of human society now known to us we find magic thus conspicuously present and religion conspicuously absent, may we not reasonably conjecture that the civilised races of the world have also at some period of their history passed through a similar intellectual phase?" (The truly civilized races, he goes on to say later, though not particularly loudly, are the ones whose minds evolve beyond religious belief to embrace the rational structures of scientific thought.) Frazer was much too genteel to state plainly that "primitive" races believe in magic because they are too stupid and backwards to know any better; instead he remarks that "a savage hardly conceives the distinction commonly drawn by more advanced peoples between the natural and the supernatural." And he certainly was not about to make explicit the logical extension of his theories--"that Christian legend, dogma, and ritual" (to quote Robert Graves's summation of Frazer in The White Goddess) "are the refinement of a great body of primitive and barbarous beliefs." Whatever modern readers have come to think of the book, however, its historical significance and the eloquence with which Frazer attempts to develop what one might call a unifying theory of anthropology cannot be denied. --Ron Hogan -- Dieser Text bezieht sich auf eine andere Ausgabe: Taschenbuch .


* Frazer's work has epic scale yet mesmerizing fineness of detail. We see the great structures of civilization forming and melting against a background of elemental mystery. The effect is cinematic and sublime. What I took from Frazer is his narrative sweep, multicultural sympathy and structuralist technique ... The Golden Bough is like music - the dark resonance of Johannes Brahms' four symphonies, which inspired my "reading" of Western culture and its recurrent themes. -- Camille Paglia * Equally remarkable for its vast assembly of facts and its unusual charm of presentation. Few men of such learning have written more attractively. Concise Cambridge History of English Literature -- Dieser Text bezieht sich auf eine andere Ausgabe: Taschenbuch .

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In diesem Buch (Mehr dazu)
I. Diana and Virbius.-Who does not know Turner's picture of the Golden Bough ? Lesen Sie die erste Seite
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4.0 von 5 Sternen ...And then there's Mr. Frazer 27. Juni 2000
If you are the type of person whose spirit gravitates to the simple (not simplistic, but simple)answers to some of the most complex and seemingly unrelated questions, and those answers desired consist of the type philosphers, poets and artists/scientists have been looking for (with varied success) for millenia, then you just might enjoy this book. Camile Paglia's SEXUAL PERSONAE, heavily indebted to this and the major works of Freud by her own proud admission, is what led me to this pretty staggering work for its time. It is relatively easy to make someone's brain hurt with a lot of scholar talk, where one is saying nothing; this book is great because it is *sensational*, in the truest sense of the word. This is one of the first of the many books about religion and the history of man that put my stomach up in knots, as it simultaneously gave me the power to look beyond the fabrication of ancient Greek philosophical society and Judeo-Christian heritage as the summit of man's knowledge. (Not that that was ever a problem for me consciously, but unconsciously I doubt anyone without reading a book like this has moved beyond it.) This is one of the books that made a new approach to the understanding of man and a paradigm shift as to how we have mentally, emotionally and spiritually developed not only possible, but inevitable.
What could keep this monument from receiving five stars will be fairly obvious to any reader: the prejudices of his time.
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5.0 von 5 Sternen One of a handful of essential readings 3. April 2000
The Golden Bough is a remarkable and inspiring book. Although some of the evidence presented is outdated, it remains a seminal work for its rigorous scientific approach, as well as for the depth and insight the author puts in his analysis. Frazer uses the wealth of material presented in the book to reveal some of the deepest - and sometimes disquieting - aspects of the human character. This is essential reading for all who want to explore human nature and the tyes existing between present day civilisation and the world of our ancestors. Even today, the book retains the originality and freshness of approach that have contributed to make it a classic ever since its first publication.
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Frazer's classic "The Golden Bough" may justifiably be called the foundation that modern anthropology is based on. While it has been discredited in some areas since it's 1st publication, it has stood the test of time remarkably well. It's still the best book I know of to explain the origins of magical & religious thought to a new student of comparative religions. I would especially suggest it to anyone interested in mythology, supernatural magic or religion, especially any of the modern neo-pagan religions. More than one critic has said that it should be required reading for everyone.
Originally, Frazer sought to explain the strange custom at an Italian sacred grove near the city of Aricia. He wanted to know why it was custom there for a priest of Diana to continually guard a sacred tree with his life. Why was it required that this pagan priest murder anyone who dares to break a branch from the tree & why were so many willing to risk their lives to do so? What power did this broken branch have that made it a symbol of the priests own coming death? Why could the priest only be relieved of his position by being ritually murdered & who in their right mind would strive to take his place?
What Frazer discovered in his search for answers went well beyond what he expected to find. He very quickly found himself surrounded by ancient pagan beliefs & magic rituals that were as old as mankind & just as widespread. He slowly reveals to us, by way of hundreds of examples, that ancient or primitive man was bound up in a never ending web of taboos & restrictions that regulated his existence here on earth. Every move, spoken word or even thought could swing the powers of the divine for or against pagan man.
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5.0 von 5 Sternen Excellent! 27. September 1999
Von Ein Kunde
The unabridged version tends to get a little bit long winded and boring in some sections (although others are extremely intriguing), but I found the book to be extremely inspirational and mind-opening in that it makes you look at customs and religions in ways you never thought of before. He compares certain folk customs that are common around the world and discusses possible psychological or sociological reasons for them. It stimulates an interest in comparitive religion and broadens the mind to different ways of viewing the world.
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