Imagining the Pagan Past: Gods and Goddesses in Literature and History since the Dark Ages

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  • Edition: 1st
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2013-03-18
  • Publisher: Routledge

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Imagining the Pagan Pastexplores the pagan stories of Britain's past, characterised by gods and fairies, temples, corn dollies, May Day celebrations and midsummer bonfires which are referenced everywhere, in place names and pub names, in nursery rhymes and in fiction for adults and children. But the pagan history and its stories have always had an uncomfortable relationship with the scholarly world, being seen as childish, self-indulgent and, worse, encouraging tribal and nationalistic feelings. This book explores the ways in which British pagan gods and goddesses have been represented in poetry, novels, plays, chronicles, scientific and scholarly writing from the Middle Ages to the present. From Geoffrey of Monmouth to Edmund Spenser, William Shakespeare to John Dryden and H.G. Wells to Naomi Mitchison it explores Romano-British, Celtic and Anglo-Saxon deities and fictions about Palaeolithic and Neolithic gods and goddesses too. The result is a comprehensive picture of the ways in which writers have peopled the British pagan pantheons from the earliest times to the present. Imagining the Pagan Pastwill be essential reading for all those interested in the history of paganism.

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