London Program: Pagan London

Autumn 2018-2019

20150

Edgar Garcia

This course is a study of literary modernism by way of its debt to Scottish anthropologist J.G. Frazer’s The Golden Bough, a foundational work in the anthropology of magic, religion, purity, pollution, sacrifice, fertility, and the death and reincarnation of gods. Reading Frazer’s work alongside works by William Butler Yeats, T.S. Eliot, Ezra Pound, H.D., Virginia Woolf, James Joyce, Ludwig Wittgenstein, Robert Graves, Sigmund Freud, and Jane Harrison, we will examine the widespread impact of Frazer’s tome, its resonance in the tumultuous war years, and the ways in which it participated in the creation of pagan, heretical, outsider, country, rural, and ethnic values in modernist London. Inasmuch as Frazer’s work possessed a literary life, we will examine how its anthropology possessed by literature lives on in the works of such anthropologists as Mary Douglas and Michael Taussig. Course fieldtrips are likely to include the newly reconstructed London Mithraeum, Greenwich, and the Stonehenge monument. (1830-1940, Fiction, Poetry, Theory)