As you all know by now, I’m a long time fan of anything and everything related to Unicorns, be it in literature or in any other form or shape.
So when Sir James George Frazer’s book titled The Golden Bough: A Study in Magic and Religion, landed on my doorstep, I was more than enthusiast about its cover design which depicts a superb white unicorn!
Thanks so much Mairiuna for keeping your eyes open. Had it not been for you pointing me to this great book, I would have missed it big time. Cheers my friend!
I’m really hitting a home run here, as the subjects covered by Sir J.G. Frazer are all up my alley, especially his insights on Body Mind and Spirit, Folklore and Mythology, and Anthropology. What a dazzling seminal work this bulky 971 page book is!
Just to give you an idea of what The Golden Bough is all about, I quoted below excerpt from Wikipedia and Google Books:
The Golden Bough: A Study in Magic and Religion is a wide-ranging, comparative study of mythology and religion, written by Scottish anthropologist Sir James George Frazer (1854–1941).
It first was published in two volumes in 1890; the third edition, published 1906–15, comprised twelve volumes. It was aimed at a broad literate audience raised on tales as told in such publications as Thomas Bulfinch’s The Age of Fable, or Stories of Gods and Heroes (1855).
It offered a modernist approach to discussing religion, treating it dispassionately as a cultural phenomenon rather than from a theological perspective. The impact of The Golden Bough on contemporary European literature was substantial.
Text copies of the 1922 edition:
- The Golden Bough from eBooks @ Adelaide
- HTML version of The Golden Bough
- The Golden Bough at Project Gutenberg
- Download MP3 of this audio book for free at LibriVox
The Golden Bough project, like Frazer’s own imagination, was rooted in the Scotland whose religious controversies of the 1840’s put belief in religion to test both practical – in the establishment of the Free Church – and intellectual, in attempting to harmonize biblical Christianity with evolutionary concepts of human history.
While investigating about the book, I found out that the cover art designer was Peter Goodfellow, a well know painter and book cover illustrator that fell in love with Scotland, just as the team here at Scotiana did!
” (…) Fortunately his wife was also captivated by this country and has a great understanding of his consuming passion.
The viewer of his landscapes sees this passion at a glance. The vibrant colours are arresting and the mood which is set can bring a lump to the throat.Inspired by art movements as far reaching as the early Italian Renaissance and German Expressionism, Peter Goodfellow’s paintings divine a rich artistic heritage.
Living in a remote glen in North East Scotland, Goodfellow paints both figurative and landscape works.For Goodfellow, colour is the all important ingredient in his oils and water-colours.
He declares himself to be an ‘out and out colourist’,and often paints the same subject repeatedly to distil colour and form.”Raw colour can capture a sense of time and create a sense of mood and atmosphere” believes Goodfellow.
Often looking to the landscape as a subject matter for his paintings, Goodfellow deftly describes through his rich vocabulary of colour the extraordinary beauty and power of the natural world.”
You are invited to click on the image below if you wish to view some of the marvelous paintings from Peter Goodfellow’s portfolio hosted on The Lost Gallery, which he co-directs with his wife Jean in Bellabeg, approximately 40 miles west of Aberdeen, on the A944, near Strathdon, Aberdeenshire.
Just got an email from Mairiuna sending along the dust jacket of the 1949 edition of Sir James Frazer’s book, as well as the informational note she received from the vendor:
This copy was acquired from the impressive private library of Film Director Roy Ward Baker and bears his name to the ffep. He started in the film industry as a gofar boy,but worked his way up to the level of as assistant director on Alfred Hitchcock’s The Lady Vanishes (1938).
He served in the Army during World War II, transferring to the Army Kinematograph Unit in 1943. One of his superiors at the time was novelist Eric Ambler who insisted on Baker being given his first big break directing The October Man, from an Ambler screenplay, in 1947.
Ambler also adapted Walter Lord’s A Night to Remember for Baker’s 1958 screen version.His next two films, The Weaker Sex and Paper Orchid (1949) were popular but overshadowed by the success of Morning Departure (1950), also featuring John Mills.
Baker worked for three years at Fox where he directed Marilyn Monroe in Don’t Bother to Knock 1952.
He returned to the UK in 1953 and continued to work on films.
Wow…thanks for sharing this gem of a book with us Mairiuna