website statistics Queens of the Wild: Pagan Goddesses in Christian Europe: An Investigation - PDF Books Online
Hot Best Seller

Queens of the Wild: Pagan Goddesses in Christian Europe: An Investigation

Availability: Ready to download

A concise history of the goddess-like figures who evade both Christian and pagan traditions, from the medieval period to the present day In this riveting account, renowned scholar Ronald Hutton explores the history of deity-like figures in Christian Europe. Drawing on anthropology, archaeology, literature, and history, Hutton shows how hags, witches, the fairy queen, and t A concise history of the goddess-like figures who evade both Christian and pagan traditions, from the medieval period to the present day In this riveting account, renowned scholar Ronald Hutton explores the history of deity-like figures in Christian Europe. Drawing on anthropology, archaeology, literature, and history, Hutton shows how hags, witches, the fairy queen, and the Green Man all came to be, and how they changed over the centuries.   Looking closely at four main figures—Mother Earth, the Fairy Queen, the Mistress of the Night, and the Old Woman of Gaelic tradition—Hutton challenges decades of debate around the female figures who have long been thought versions of pre-Christian goddesses. He makes the compelling case that these goddess figures found in the European imagination did not descend from the pre-Christian ancient world, yet have nothing Christian about them. It was in fact nineteenth-century scholars who attempted to establish the narrative of pagan survival that persists today.


Compare

A concise history of the goddess-like figures who evade both Christian and pagan traditions, from the medieval period to the present day In this riveting account, renowned scholar Ronald Hutton explores the history of deity-like figures in Christian Europe. Drawing on anthropology, archaeology, literature, and history, Hutton shows how hags, witches, the fairy queen, and t A concise history of the goddess-like figures who evade both Christian and pagan traditions, from the medieval period to the present day In this riveting account, renowned scholar Ronald Hutton explores the history of deity-like figures in Christian Europe. Drawing on anthropology, archaeology, literature, and history, Hutton shows how hags, witches, the fairy queen, and the Green Man all came to be, and how they changed over the centuries.   Looking closely at four main figures—Mother Earth, the Fairy Queen, the Mistress of the Night, and the Old Woman of Gaelic tradition—Hutton challenges decades of debate around the female figures who have long been thought versions of pre-Christian goddesses. He makes the compelling case that these goddess figures found in the European imagination did not descend from the pre-Christian ancient world, yet have nothing Christian about them. It was in fact nineteenth-century scholars who attempted to establish the narrative of pagan survival that persists today.

30 review for Queens of the Wild: Pagan Goddesses in Christian Europe: An Investigation

  1. 4 out of 5

    charlotte,

    Galley provided by publisher Ronald Hutton is one of those nonfiction authors who you can always trust to be thorough and (I think) impartial in their assessment of the evidence. In Queens of the Wild, he carefully weighs up various sources and takes you step by step through the birth of these various myths, how they have morphed and developed in the time since their earliest mentions. And in the end, you get a fascinating, in-depth and yet very readable book. It definitely helps that I found the Galley provided by publisher Ronald Hutton is one of those nonfiction authors who you can always trust to be thorough and (I think) impartial in their assessment of the evidence. In Queens of the Wild, he carefully weighs up various sources and takes you step by step through the birth of these various myths, how they have morphed and developed in the time since their earliest mentions. And in the end, you get a fascinating, in-depth and yet very readable book. It definitely helps that I found the content in itself engrossing. I enjoyed seeing how the eponymous queens of the wild figures came to be as they are today, and particularly how some of them are less ancient than might be thought. It's very interesting to see how myths form and, especially, how they become popular myth, such as the Green Man, given as a final, additional example in this book. Queens of the Wild is an excellent piece of nonfiction, both for people with a deeper knowledge of the topic and for those (like me!) who haven't read or thought much on it before. One I would highly recommend.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Alexandra

    I received this via NetGalley. As an Arts student of the late 90s, who did do some mythology-type subjects, I have vaguely come across some of the ideas that Hutton explodes here. So that was quite the trip. The main idea: that the four concepts, or beings, or narrative tools - Mother Earth, the Fairy Queen, The Lady of the Night, and the Cailleach - are in no way part of a pagan religion that has survived sin Europe since pre-Christian times. No matter all the stories about witches as pagans or I received this via NetGalley. As an Arts student of the late 90s, who did do some mythology-type subjects, I have vaguely come across some of the ideas that Hutton explodes here. So that was quite the trip. The main idea: that the four concepts, or beings, or narrative tools - Mother Earth, the Fairy Queen, The Lady of the Night, and the Cailleach - are in no way part of a pagan religion that has survived sin Europe since pre-Christian times. No matter all the stories about witches as pagans or Beltane feasts. In the opening Hutton revives a differentiation (first proposed by himself in 1991) between two concepts: 'surviving paganism', where a pre-Christian religion has actually survived beneath/within Christianity; and 'pagan survival', where a belief of object has been redeployed from a pre-Christian to a Christian religious context. This book has a LOT of historiography, as Hutton explores some of the why and some of the how for the development of the idea that four specific concepts have a long, pagan, pedigree. The very first chapter was probably my favourite, as he explores the development of the study of folklore and how various academic and non-academic types explored and theorised beliefs - especially peasant beliefs - and how attitudes to those sorts of things changed over time. Following the thread from one person to another - occasionally from just one article to an explosion of theories, books, films, and other academic articles - was astonishing. In the four main chapters, Hutton seeks to find the four characters he has chosen to interrogate - to find the earliest mentions, to find their possible connections to pre-Christian ideas, to find the ways in which they've been used in the academic literature. In every case, he comes to the conclusion that none of these are true 'surviving paganism' - always with the caveat that more information may be found, and that of course there's a dearth of written information for so much of the early part of the pre-Christian/Christian boundary. He's pretty convincing, unsurprisingly. Moderately academic, but I think accessible for a reader with only a basic knowledge of both the historiography and the characters he explores (which is me).

  3. 5 out of 5

    Annastasia

    This book is a very, very, in depth look at the narrative surrounding female figures of supposedly pagan origins. But although the subject matter deserves to be explored further, I could not help but feel conflicted by this offering. Hutton offers up four main archetypes for the reader’s perusal, yet it is done in such a way that the reader becomes overwhelmed and unable to follow the examples given. This reader in particular had to set down and take the book up again multiple times in order to This book is a very, very, in depth look at the narrative surrounding female figures of supposedly pagan origins. But although the subject matter deserves to be explored further, I could not help but feel conflicted by this offering. Hutton offers up four main archetypes for the reader’s perusal, yet it is done in such a way that the reader becomes overwhelmed and unable to follow the examples given. This reader in particular had to set down and take the book up again multiple times in order to finish, having to parse and process what had been consumed every few pages. In truth, this review was difficult to write as I had so wanted to enjoy the topic being explored. The information presented is overall worth a read, but perhaps for the truly dedicated and not a casual reader.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Ann Dudzinski

    This book has a really interesting premise. The author examined four Goddess figures - the Fairy Queen, Mother Earth (or Gaia), the Mistress of the Night, and the Gaelic Old Woman - to determine if they predated Christianity. In other words, were they Pagan remnants that managed to survive the Christianization of Europe and the British Isles? By examining literature, archaeology, and history from before the Middle Ages up to the present, the author explored the evolution of these figures, as wel This book has a really interesting premise. The author examined four Goddess figures - the Fairy Queen, Mother Earth (or Gaia), the Mistress of the Night, and the Gaelic Old Woman - to determine if they predated Christianity. In other words, were they Pagan remnants that managed to survive the Christianization of Europe and the British Isles? By examining literature, archaeology, and history from before the Middle Ages up to the present, the author explored the evolution of these figures, as well as other entities such as Greek Goddesses, the Green Man, witches, and more. I won’t throw out any spoilers as to his conclusions. While I loved the figures under examination, I had a hard time getting through the book. It was a slog - almost like reading a textbook. And not because it was particularly dry. There was so much information presented, I became overwhelmed. It took awhile to read because I had to keep stepping away from the book to digest the information. Seriously, this is not a “sit down and read it straight through over a few nights” kind of book. This is a “spend a few minutes a day with it, digest what you’ve read, then continue on the next day” read. Or at least, it was for me. Maybe I’m too far removed from college (because I totally would have taken a course on this) and can’t digest this much information any more. Or maybe if it HAD been a college course, a semester or a few weeks would have been a better timeline for reading it. Given the phenomenal amount of information in this book, it deserves to be studied slowly. Unfortunately, I didn’t have that kind of time to devote to it and ended up being a bit overwhelmed, which is the main thing that influenced my rating. I rated this book 3 stars. ⭐⭐⭐ Thank you to NetGalley and Yale University Press for providing the ARC copy of this book in return for my honest review.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Mrs Karen Bull

    Great book teaches people about the old religion and cross over in to Christianity etc Praises the strong females etc Found fascinating and very well written worth buying

  6. 5 out of 5

    Vivienne

    My thanks to Yale University Press for an eARC via NetGalley of ‘Queens of the Wild: Pagan Goddesses in Christian Europe: An Investigation’by Ronald Hutton in exchange for an honest review. Professor Hutton is a renowned British historian, who has written a number of works on British history and folklore as well as on Pre-Christian religions and Contemporary Paganism. While this meets the criteria for an academic work in terms of detailed footnotes and references, I found it an accessible and inf My thanks to Yale University Press for an eARC via NetGalley of ‘Queens of the Wild: Pagan Goddesses in Christian Europe: An Investigation’by Ronald Hutton in exchange for an honest review. Professor Hutton is a renowned British historian, who has written a number of works on British history and folklore as well as on Pre-Christian religions and Contemporary Paganism. While this meets the criteria for an academic work in terms of detailed footnotes and references, I found it an accessible and informative read. Hutton draws on a wide range of disciplines and sources, including anthropology, archaeology, literature, and history, to explore the presence of goddess-like figures in Christian Europe. Specifically he debates the long held assertion that these are surviving remnants of pre-Christian goddesses. Having presented this challenge in his opening chapter, ‘What is a Pagan Survival?’, he then seeks to make his case for what else these female figures might be. To do this he focuses on four figures found in the European imagination: Mother Earth, the Fairy Queen, the Mistress of the Night, and the Old Woman of Gaelic tradition. In the Epilogue he then examines the figure of the Green Man. In this he cites an environmental project that I was employed by during the 1980s, ‘Trees, Woods, and the Green Man’. Until I read this section I was unaware of certain controversies that had arisen about one of our main publications. So that made for interesting reading! While I might not agree with all of Professor Hutton’s ideas, overall I found ‘Queens of the Wild’ a well researched and thought provoking work. I read it fairly quickly though I expect to return to it for a more considered reading as well as following up on some of the material, including the Green Man debate. I have purchased its hardback edition, which is elegantly bound with evocative cover art. It also contains a number of illustrations and an index. ‘Queens of the Wild’ is bound to appeal to readers interested in folklore, mythology, and the history of religion. It also may ruffle some feathers; though it is in the nature of scholarly texts to present new ideas and encourage informed debate.

  7. 4 out of 5

    McKenzie

    Thank you to Netgalley and the author for providing me with an eARC of this book. However, all thoughts and opinions are my own. As someone who is having a really great reading year with non-fiction, I was hoping that this book would carry on that trend. And while this book isn't bad, it isn't especially accessible for most readers. It reads like a resource for a university class, a well research resource, but there is just so much information. It's interesting to follow the author as he discuss Thank you to Netgalley and the author for providing me with an eARC of this book. However, all thoughts and opinions are my own. As someone who is having a really great reading year with non-fiction, I was hoping that this book would carry on that trend. And while this book isn't bad, it isn't especially accessible for most readers. It reads like a resource for a university class, a well research resource, but there is just so much information. It's interesting to follow the author as he discusses the path of paganism, from pre-Christianity until the modern times, but this book needs to be read slowly so that all the information can be digested. He covers Mother Earth, the Fairy Queen, The Lady of the Night, and the Cailleach in extreme detail, with a bonus on the Green Man at the end. He uses archaeology, anthropology, and literature to expand and support his findings and is kind enough to provide a rather expansive notes section for those who want to find them. My favorite section was probably on the Lady of the Night, I hadn't really heard much about her before this and I find the idea of "traveling" with the Lady really compelling. I feel like I might be doing a little more research of my own in the future. Overall, I think this is a good pick for readers already interested in this subject as long as they are aware that it is going to take a bit of mental energy to read. Don't expect to just breeze through this in a day. However, do expect to learn a fair bit about these enthralling figures who have followed humanity for centuries.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Ethan

    An exploration into the 19th century European, primarily British, romance regarding presumed pagan continuity of various characters and stories: mother earth, the fairy queen, the lady of the night, the cailleach, and the like. For each character the author explores what can actually be known from days past. Mother Earth is primarily a projection; not nearly as influential in antiquity as it would be in the 19th and especially 20th and 21st centuries. There's some continuity in terms of fairies, An exploration into the 19th century European, primarily British, romance regarding presumed pagan continuity of various characters and stories: mother earth, the fairy queen, the lady of the night, the cailleach, and the like. For each character the author explores what can actually be known from days past. Mother Earth is primarily a projection; not nearly as influential in antiquity as it would be in the 19th and especially 20th and 21st centuries. There's some continuity in terms of fairies, but otherwise most of the stories as believed to persist throughout the medieval era do not have that kind of evidence; either they existed beforehand or became more influential in later mythology. The author does well to show that Christianity did pervade English and European thinking; certain elements of previous pagan beliefs were incorporated in various ways into that Christian perspective, but pagan views as such did not persist throughout the ages. It was mostly a fantasy of the 19th and 20th century romantics who imagined such things, and the view persists in many circles to this day. **-galley received as part of early review program

  9. 5 out of 5

    historic_chronicles

    A hugely compelling and incredibly detailed insight into Pagan Folklore, this has to be one of the most thoroughly researched books that I have read this year. Hutton focuses on four Goddess figures in this study: Mother Earth, the Fairy Queen, the Lady of the Night and the Cailleach. He takes us from where it is believed these mythical beings are said to have been born along with their development along the passage of time. The author is generous with their information, taking the time to explain A hugely compelling and incredibly detailed insight into Pagan Folklore, this has to be one of the most thoroughly researched books that I have read this year. Hutton focuses on four Goddess figures in this study: Mother Earth, the Fairy Queen, the Lady of the Night and the Cailleach. He takes us from where it is believed these mythical beings are said to have been born along with their development along the passage of time. The author is generous with their information, taking the time to explain complicated history such as differentiating between "Pagan Survival Folklore" and "Surviving Paganism Folklore" that is essential to the general understanding of the Goddesses. This book deserves to be given the time to be considered thoughtfully and digested thoroughly. It is moderately academic at times, but due to Hutton's excellent writing, it is still an easy and accessible read for the non-scholar. Thank you to the author and @yalebooks for allowing access to this book on @netgalley

  10. 5 out of 5

    Sophia

    This book is probably not for a casual fan of paganism and folklore. But, if you're interested in seriously learning about the topic it's a fantastic place to start. It offers an incredibly detailed insight into the historiography of paganism/folklore which in turn helps to debunk so many myths and anachronisms relating to the topic. Though dense at times, Hutton's explanations and arguments are easy to follow and understand. There are plenty of case studies and references to specific stories wh This book is probably not for a casual fan of paganism and folklore. But, if you're interested in seriously learning about the topic it's a fantastic place to start. It offers an incredibly detailed insight into the historiography of paganism/folklore which in turn helps to debunk so many myths and anachronisms relating to the topic. Though dense at times, Hutton's explanations and arguments are easy to follow and understand. There are plenty of case studies and references to specific stories which were particularly engaging. Another aspect I particularly liked was the breadth of the material- a range of women like figures were discussed, and it covered most of Western Europe (though did focus a lot on Britain and Ireland in specific chapters). Overall Hutton's argument was convincing and interesting. Thank you to Netgalley for providing this ARC.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Amy

    Thank you so much to Yale University Press and NetGalley for an e-arc of this book. 2.5* rounded up to 3* The author of this book is obviously very intelligent and very educated about his subject matter, unfortunately for me it wasn’t a particularly engaging tome. I went into it with different expectations, I was anticipating it was more about the female deities and myth and legend, instead the book was more about the people who wrote about them. The book doesn’t go into detail at all about the fem Thank you so much to Yale University Press and NetGalley for an e-arc of this book. 2.5* rounded up to 3* The author of this book is obviously very intelligent and very educated about his subject matter, unfortunately for me it wasn’t a particularly engaging tome. I went into it with different expectations, I was anticipating it was more about the female deities and myth and legend, instead the book was more about the people who wrote about them. The book doesn’t go into detail at all about the female deities themselves which was disappointing for me. I feel like this book is would be better suited perhaps to a novice scholar, somebody who is interested and already studying the topic, as it is a concise history and I don’t think it would be suitable for those already well-versed on the subject matter.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Tracie

    Professor Hutton gives readers much to mull over in his discussion of 4 powerful female figures in European history, through literature, archaeology, and anthropology and finishes with the figure of the Green Man and Robin Hood. He starts with Mother Earth, discusses the Fairy Queen, the Mistress of the Night and the Cailleach. Some of the figures were more popular in the British Isles and some on the continent and he takes readers through time and presents the opinions and research of authors a Professor Hutton gives readers much to mull over in his discussion of 4 powerful female figures in European history, through literature, archaeology, and anthropology and finishes with the figure of the Green Man and Robin Hood. He starts with Mother Earth, discusses the Fairy Queen, the Mistress of the Night and the Cailleach. Some of the figures were more popular in the British Isles and some on the continent and he takes readers through time and presents the opinions and research of authors and philosophers through the ages. There are very helpful notes and sources for those who might want to go back to those earlier sources. The professor also gives his own thoughts about how society reinterprets the past to fit the present. Thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for an advance copy in exchange for an honest review.

  13. 4 out of 5

    gab

    *ARC from Netgalley* This is a really interesting work! The book`s about how pagan goddesses are perceived and adapted to the christian religions. The author goes back in time to medieval Europe to introduce the readers to the mentality and beliefs of that era, explaining how their tales and world perceptions have influenced on the Western World spiritualism. The part that stood out for me the most is the chapter about the Fairy Queen and how she was created by the mentality of the people. Especi *ARC from Netgalley* This is a really interesting work! The book`s about how pagan goddesses are perceived and adapted to the christian religions. The author goes back in time to medieval Europe to introduce the readers to the mentality and beliefs of that era, explaining how their tales and world perceptions have influenced on the Western World spiritualism. The part that stood out for me the most is the chapter about the Fairy Queen and how she was created by the mentality of the people. Especially how their image of elves transformed into the concept of fairies and, consequently, into the Fairy Queen. A must read if you're into history, mysticism and religion!

  14. 4 out of 5

    Marian Rakestraw

    I received a copy of this book via NetGalley. The author of this book is clearly an authority and the text is exhaustively researched. While a fine source for any scholarly inquiry it is also a pleasant read for the average reader with an interest in the subject. The book begins with a discussion of whether or not figures such as Nature (or a Mother Goddess) are pagan holdovers or more rightly grew out of other cultural trends. Four female figures and the Green Man are then examined individually. I received a copy of this book via NetGalley. The author of this book is clearly an authority and the text is exhaustively researched. While a fine source for any scholarly inquiry it is also a pleasant read for the average reader with an interest in the subject. The book begins with a discussion of whether or not figures such as Nature (or a Mother Goddess) are pagan holdovers or more rightly grew out of other cultural trends. Four female figures and the Green Man are then examined individually. I was introduced to new ideas and history that have sparked ideas I can explore more on my own. This isn’t a quick or casual read but I did enjoy it.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Brigette

    Very intrigued by the description of this book. In college I wrote my history thesis on female Celtic saints, so I was hoping to see at least some mention of the saints I had written about (which have connections in paganism). A lot of information was presented here. It was very obviously well researched and reviewed different aspects of female characters in history and how they have been viewed. This is not the type of book to sit and read for fun with no evaluation - it is a text for study and Very intrigued by the description of this book. In college I wrote my history thesis on female Celtic saints, so I was hoping to see at least some mention of the saints I had written about (which have connections in paganism). A lot of information was presented here. It was very obviously well researched and reviewed different aspects of female characters in history and how they have been viewed. This is not the type of book to sit and read for fun with no evaluation - it is a text for study and concentration.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Annarella

    I'm huge fan of Ronald Hutton's work since I read The Triumph of the Moon and this was another exceptional and well researched book that helped to clarify a lot of misinformation about myths and characters that are part of the contemporary popular culture or pagan religion. It was an interesting and gripping read, I learned a lot and appreciated the storytelling and research. It's strongly recommended. Many thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for this ARC, all opinions are mine I'm huge fan of Ronald Hutton's work since I read The Triumph of the Moon and this was another exceptional and well researched book that helped to clarify a lot of misinformation about myths and characters that are part of the contemporary popular culture or pagan religion. It was an interesting and gripping read, I learned a lot and appreciated the storytelling and research. It's strongly recommended. Many thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for this ARC, all opinions are mine

  17. 5 out of 5

    Aria Harlow

    This was such an interesting read that was really well researched without being too textbooky, It is super specific so if you wanted to read this as a more general read you may not enjoy it as much as I did but I found it really good. There were so many goddesses and queens within this book that I hadnt heard of and I loved it.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Verity Halliday

    I enjoyed this scholarly work, looking at the history of goddess-like figures within the context of Christian Europe. The received wisdom was that these were hangovers from pre-Christian pagan religion, but actually examining the historical evidence reveals that they're something quite different. I couldn't help but reflect on the differences between the study of historical customs and religion compared with linguistics. Similarity between modern European languages seems to point to a proto-Indo- I enjoyed this scholarly work, looking at the history of goddess-like figures within the context of Christian Europe. The received wisdom was that these were hangovers from pre-Christian pagan religion, but actually examining the historical evidence reveals that they're something quite different. I couldn't help but reflect on the differences between the study of historical customs and religion compared with linguistics. Similarity between modern European languages seems to point to a proto-Indo-European root language which existed prior to written history, but similarity of modern customs and religious practices is far less likely to indicate a common ancient source. I'm planning to read more by Professor Hutton - his areas of research are so interesting!

  19. 4 out of 5

    Bookerina Lovington

    This was an interesting read! I was initially attracted to this book's cover but quickly found that the content itself was worth reading. I enjoyed the stories and different interpretation and found that the writing style was easy to read. I would look for more books by this author. This was an interesting read! I was initially attracted to this book's cover but quickly found that the content itself was worth reading. I enjoyed the stories and different interpretation and found that the writing style was easy to read. I would look for more books by this author.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Kirsten Corby

  21. 5 out of 5

    Paul

  22. 4 out of 5

    Majid Fadel

  23. 5 out of 5

    Matthijs Krul

  24. 4 out of 5

    Tom Atkinson

  25. 4 out of 5

    Al Kennerley

  26. 5 out of 5

    Nicole

  27. 4 out of 5

    Magdarine

  28. 5 out of 5

    Emma Hibling

  29. 4 out of 5

    Paul Vittay

  30. 5 out of 5

    Taylor Bauer

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...