The Golden Bough * James George Frazer (ISBN: 0684826305)

What a book this is! Frazer (1854-1941) wanted to explain the following-up of priests in the cult of Diana. First he thought that this could be done in short, but he found out that he needed to explain many different parts from a great number of mythologies and folklore. In the end Frazer came up with a work in two volumes that was released in 1890. After the first publication Frazer was still so enthousiastic about his comperative study of mythologies, that he enlarged his work to a book in as many as twelve volumes! Still an unsurpassed work that set a new kind of studies. Frazer is regarded as the first antropologist. Anyway, twelve volumes was a complete overkill for many people, but the popularity of the book kept growing and so did the demand for a shorther version. This Frazer completed in 1920. Still a respectable book of over 900 pages that has fortunately never been out of print.
The book reads a bit like a novel and indeed, Frazer touches on almost anything. Mythology from the far East, the near East, Africa, Europe, America and more, but also habbits from the world-religions but also from local farmer-communities in the middle of nowwhere. Folkore, mythology, magic and religion of the world all to be found in one book. Coming with a proper index this is the ultimate reference-book for anyone interested in these subjects.

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