Sunday, October 10, 2004

All This for a Twig

The Golden Bough by Sir James Frazer
The premise of this book is really simple: Why did the custom exist of the Priest of the Sacred Grove at Nemi having to be slain by his successor, who first had to pluck the fabled Golden Bough? From this premise, Frazer sets off on a course through anthropology and mythology to trace the course of human thought that ultimately culminated in this seemingly unspectacular, if barbarous, custom. While the book is long and often tedious, it is also often fascinating and always fabulously rewarding for those interested in mythology, anthropology, or literature.


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