Press Release: The Golden Bough

The Golden Bough

A Study in Magic and Religion
Sir James George Frazer

Abridged, introduced and annotated by Robert Fraser

‘Frazer’s work has epic scale yet mesmerizing fineness of detail . . . The Golden Bough is like music.’
camile paglia

Over 125 years after it first appeared, The Golden Bough remains a uniquely disturbing masterpiece – a groundbreaking exploration of the twisted roots of magic, ritual and religious belief, and a transformative influence for writers from Eliot to Hemingway, Lovecraft to Freud.

This new Folio Society edition uses Robert Fraser’s masterful 1994 abridgement, retaining the authoritative introduction and notes, Frazer’s most controversial passages and honours his original ‘four-book’ structure. It is the first edition to lavishly illustrate this text with over 70 pages of archaeological, ethnographic and artistic images including Frazer’s specified frontispiece ‘The Golden Bough’ by Turner. Romy Blümel’s stunning bindings of gold and white images that recall Greek vase decoration, a slipcase decorated with an oak and mistletoe motif, and gilded page-tops complete this deluxe edition of a truly unique work.

The life-work of James George Frazer, a pioneering Cambridge University anthropologist, The Golden Bough set out to elucidate a single mysterious Roman tradition: that a runaway slave could inherit the priesthood at the shrine of Nemi by chopping a branch from a nearby sacred tree, then murdering the incumbent. But Frazer’s obsessive search for ancient and modern parallels opened up a dark world of fertility rites and human sacrifice, sacred kings and dying gods. Pushing the comparative method to its limits, he set myths and rituals from ancient Egypt, Greece and Rome alongside Christian practices, and 19th century observations of tribal beliefs against the residual folk traditions of late-Victorian Britain – with startling results.

Product information

Bound in printed and blocked cloth. Set in Miller Text. 2 volumes – 464 pages (Vol 1) and 520 pages (Vol 2). Frontispiece and 72 pages of colour and black & white plates in total. Gilded tops. Blocked slipcase. 10˝x 6¾˝.

UK £120.00 US $180.00 Can $240.00 Aus $240.00


For media enquiries please contact

UK & ROW Sandie Maylor, Cherish PR 020 3626 0282,

US & Canada Cathleen P. Williamson (617) 435-5505,