Saturday, July 31, 2004

Missing texts

The Wiccan/Pagan times has reviewed Graham Harvey's and my anthology, The Paganism Reader. So far, no review (of two that I have seen) has noted our big, accidental omission, James Frazer's The Golden Bough.

It is easy to see what happened. Neither Graham nor I make any use of this monument of 19th-century anthropology. We tend to think of it as an exhibit in the Museum of Ideas. But it was influential in the Pagan revival and it still pops up on Pagan reading lists because of all that "sacrificial king" stuff: examples here and here.

By the time I thought to include it, Routledge did not want to hear of any more changes, and we were already 300 UK pounds over budget on permissions. (Someone is still making money off Rudyard Kipling, for example.)

It hurt me more to leave out Sappho's invocation of Aphrodite, because all her surviving poems still speak with a fresh voice, even though she lived more than 2,500 years ago.


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