Golden Bough

James George FRAZER

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“FAR-SPREADING FIELDS OF PRIMITIVE THOUGHT WHICH HAD BEEN BUT LITTLE EXPLORED”: THE GOLDEN BOUGH, FRAZER’S CLASSIC STUDY OF MAGIC AND RELIGION, 12-VOLUME SET IN ORIGINAL CLOTH

FRAZER, James George. The Golden Bough. A Study in Magic and Religion. London: Macmillan, 1919-22. Twelve volumes. Octavo, original dark green cloth gilt, uncut.

Third and best edition, later issue, of Frazer’s landmark anthropological study of magic and religion, greatly enlarged and expanded to 12 volumes.

Begun by Frazer “merely… to explain the strange rule of the priesthood or sacred kingship of Nemi and with it the legend of the Golden Bough, immortalized by Virgil,” The Golden Bough grew over the years into “a vast and enterprising comparative study of the beliefs and institutions of mankind, offering the thesis that man progresses from magical through religious to scientific thought. Its discussion of fertility rites, the sacrificial killing of kings, the dying god, the scapegoat, etc., and its analysis of the primitive mind, caught the literary imagination, and its influence may perhaps be seen most lastingly in the works of D.H. Lawrence, T.S. Eliot and Pound” (Drabble, 212). Frazer’s work was first published in 1890 (in two volumes) and a second edition appeared in 1900 (in three volumes). The third edition was originally issued in London, 1911-14 (a 13th supplemental volume, not present here, was issued in 1936). The 12th volume contains an extensive bibliography and general index. See PMM 374.

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