Historical Context

Frazer published the first edition of The Golden Bough in 1890, just eight years after the death of Charles Darwin. Darwin, a British...

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Literary Style

An archetype is a model or type in literature that is considered to be universal, occurring in all cultures at all...

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Bibliography and Further Reading

Hyman, Stanley Edgar, ‘‘What Do You Dance?,’’ in The Tangled Bank: Darwin, Marx, Frazer, and Freud as...

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(Critical Survey of Literature for Students)

Ackerman, Robert. The Myth and Ritual School: J. G. Frazer and the Cambridge Ritualists. New York: Garland, 1991. Reprint. New York: Routledge, 2002. Examines the ideas expressed in The Golden Bough and in the works of other Cambridge University-based scholars whose ideas linked myth theory, the classics, and anthropology to create a new school of religious thought.

Douglas, Mary. “Judgements on James Frazer.” Daedalus 107, no. 4 (Fall, 1978): 151-164. A masterful assessment of Frazer’s critics and work by a leading anthropologist. Addresses the intellectual and cultural problems involved in criticizing works produced by earlier generations.


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Compare and Contrast

1890: People in Europe and the United States know little about non-Western culture; they refer to Africa as ‘‘The Dark...

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Topics for Further Study

Look for a behavior that is apparent in everyday life but that people seem to do for no other reason than tradition. Try to discover what...

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What Do I Read Next?

Joseph Campbell was arguably the most popular writer on myth in the late twentieth century. His most famous work is The Power of Myth,...

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