Sir James George Frazer, 1854-1941


Biographical note

Scottish anthropologist, chiefly known for his work The Golden Bough: A Study in Magic and Religion, a wide-ranging, comparative study of mythology and religion. 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 as a cultural phenomenon rather than from a theological perspective. The impact of The Golden Bough on contemporary European literature was substantial.


  • Totemism [1887]
  • The Golden Bough: a study of magic and religion
  • Descriptions of Greece, by Pausanias [translation and commentary, 1897]
  • Psyche's Task [1909]
  • Totemism and Exogamy [1910]
  • The Belief in Immortality and the Worship of the Dead [3 volumes, 1913-24]
  • Folk-lore in the Old Testament [1918]
  • The Library, by Apollodorus [text, translation and notes, 2 volumes 1921]
  • The Worship of Nature [1926 (from 1923-25 Gifford Lectures)]
  • The Gorgon's Head and other Literary Pieces [1927]
  • Man, God, and Immortality [1927]
  • Devil's Advocate [1928]
  • Fasti, by Ovid [text, translation and commentary, 5 volumes 1929; one-volume abridgement 1931; revised by G. P. Goold 1989, corr. 1996]
  • Myths of the Origin of Fire [1930]
  • The Growth of Plato's Ideal Theory [1930]
  • Garnered Sheaves [1931]
  • Condorcet on the Progress of the Human Mind [1933]
  • The Fear of the Dead in Primitive Religion [1933-36]
  • Creation and Evolution in Primitive Cosmogenies, and other pieces [1935]
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