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With its discussion of every aspect of evolution of the customs and and beliefs of different cultures - from magic and religion, myth and ritual to fertility rites, the sacraficial killings of kings, and totems and taboos - The Golden Bough appealed to a wide, educated readership. Of enormous influence on writers such as D.H. Lawrence, Ezra Pound and T.S. Eliot, who spoke of Frazer as a "profound" influence upon "our generation", The Golden Bough was also seen by some as "a story of irrational savagery beneath the civilized veneer of late Vitorian and Edwardian Europe". Although many of Frazer's views are not accepted today, his work is undergoing a reappraisal, and will continue to provide rich material for reinterpretation, among anthropologists and beyond for a long time to come.
Draws on myths, rituals, totems and taboos fo ancient European and primitive cultures throughout the world. the third edition of this monumental study of folklore, magic, and religion was abridged by the authour into this single volume in 1922.