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News: Plato's Atlantis: Fact, Fiction or Prophecy?
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Sir James George Frazer and THE GOLDEN BOUGH

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Author Topic: Sir James George Frazer and THE GOLDEN BOUGH  (Read 964 times)
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« on: May 13, 2007, 03:49:37 pm »

The Golden Bough stimulated a number of writers, including D.H. Lawrence and T.S. Eliot, whose The Waste Land (1922) is perhaps the best example of its literary influence, where, for example, the Fisher King and Waste-Land shape the motifs. An abridged, one-volume edition was published in 1922. Its influence can be found in the writings of Synge, Yeats, and Joyce. Frazer himself did not write much fiction. These works, including THE QUEST OF THE GORGON'S HEAD (1920) were assembled in SIR ROGER DE COVERLEY AND OTHER LITERARY PIECES (1920). Freud used in his mythological studies Frazer's report that primitives often called the afterbirth brother, sister or twin, and even fed it and took care of it for a while.

The Golden Bough has given inspiration to many fantasy stories, among them the myth of Diana and the sacrificial killing of the Year King by his successor in a rite of renewal. "The killing of the god, that is, of his human incarnation, is therefore a merely a necessary step to his revival or resurrection in a better form. Far from being an extinction of the divine spirit, it is only the beginning of a purer and stronger manifestation of it." (from The New Golden Bough, ed. by Theodor H. Gaster, 1959) When the vigor of the king begins to decline, he must die so that - in fantasy terms - the land can begin to experience the healing. Frazer believed that ritual derived from a universal psychic impulse. In this view he drew parallels between the death and resurrection of Christ and ancient beliefs. However, anthropologists have criticized Frazer's theories and fieldwork has shown that similar institutions have widely dis-
similar origins.
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