Myth, Ritual & Religion, Volume 1

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Cosimo, Inc., Jan 1, 2005 - Social Science - 388 pages
First published in 1887, this early work of comparative mythology remains a vital resource to students and devotees of ethnography, history, and world legends. Lang's stunningly comprehensive overview of pre-scientific thinking provides an important perspective on the worldviews that molded and continue to influence modern thought. In this, the first of two volumes, Lang begins with a minimum definition of religion-"the belief in a primal being, a Maker"-explores the differences between mythology and religion, discusses the problems of seeking the origins of the belief in a deity, and examines totem-ism, nature myths, and creation stories from around the globe, including Greece, Asia, Australia, Africa, and the New World. Scottish journalist and author ANDREW LANG (1844-1912), the son of the sheriff-clerk of rural Selkirkshire, was educated at Edinburgh Academy, the Universities of St. Andrews and Glasgow, and Balliol College, Oxford. A contemporary and friend of Robert Louis Stevenson, he produced a stunning variety and number of volumes, including books of poetry, novels, children's books, histories, and biographies, as well as criticism, essays, scholarly works of anthropology, and translations of classical literature.
 

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Contents

II
1
III
29
IV
48
V
84
VI
122
VII
159
VIII
206
IX
230
X
246
XI
280
XII
305
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About the author (2005)

Andrew Lang was born at Selkirk in Scotland on March 31, 1844. He was a historian, poet, novelist, journalist, translator, and anthropologist, in connection with his work on literary texts. He was educated at Edinburgh Academy, St. Andrews University, and Balliol College, Oxford University, becoming a fellow at Merton College. His poetry includes Ballads and Lyrics of Old France (1872), Ballades in Blue China (1880--81), and Grass of Parnassus (1888--92). His anthropology and his defense of the value of folklore as the basis of religion is expressed in his works Custom and Myth (1884), Myth, Ritual and Religion (1887), and The Making of Religion (1898). He also translated Homer and critiqued James G. Frazer's views of mythology as expressed in The Golden Bough. He was considered a good historian, with a readable narrative style and knowledge of the original sources including his works A History of Scotland (1900-7), James VI and the Gowrie Mystery (1902), and Sir George Mackenzie (1909). He was one of the most important collectors of folk and fairy tales. His collections of Fairy books, including The Blue Fairy Book, preserved and handed down many of the better-known folk tales from the time. He died of angina pectoris on July 20, 1912.

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