“CREDITED WITH BEING THE FIRST TO ADVOCATE AND TO SUSTAIN AN ANTHROPOLOGICAL STUDY OF MYTH”: FIRST EDITION OF ANDREW LANG’S MYTH, RITUAL AND RELIGION, HANDSOMELY BOUND BY ROOT & SONS
LANG, Andrew. Myth, Ritual, and Religion. London: Longmans, Green, 1887. Two volumes. Octavo, early 20th-century three-quarter navy morocco, elaborately gilt-decorated spines, raised bands, marbled endpapers, top edges gilt. $500.
First edition of this groundbreaking work by Lang, renowned for his Color Fairy Book series, this study continuing his important development of seminal theories in folklore and contesting prevailing beliefs that myth “developed into religion. Lang argued instead that spirituality could be tracked to the earliest humans,” elegantly bound in three-quarter morocco by Root & Sons.
Born in Scotland, Oxford scholar Andrew Lang was highly regarded as a poet, novelist, anthropologist and classicist—“celebrated in more fields of literary achievement, perhaps, than any of his contemporaries” (New York Times). Known especially for his Color Fairy Book series (1889-1910) and “versed in the mythologies of Greece as well as those of his native Scotland, Lang… developed theories that were seminal in folklore studies, as he is often credited with being the first to advocate and to sustain an anthropological study of myth. Myth, Ritual, and Religion (1887) ran counter to the time’s prevailing belief that myth had developed into religion. Lang argued instead that spirituality could be tracked to the earliest humans. Lang also famously disputed the theories advance by…. Friedrich Max Müller and James Frazer… But it is with fairy tales that Lang’s name is now inextricably aligned. A comparative mythologist from early on, he saw particularly in the history of fairy tales the intersection of conscious art and unconscious cultural transmission” (Haase, Greenwood Encyclopedia, 557-8). Each volume with errata slips tipped in between contents and first chapter; original cloth spines bound in. See Silvey, 387-8; Clute & Nichols, 688-9.
A fine copy.