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The Golden Bough Criticism

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When it was first published, The Golden Bough was considered an insightful work that tied together the widely divergent canon of anthropology into one cohesive theory. The book was praised for its thoroughness and accepted as a major scientific accomplishment. A 1890 review in the Journal of American Folklore, for instance, proclaimed the anonymous reviewer "grateful" to Frazer "for the exhibition of materials so rich, and for the literary skill with which he has made accessible observations so important to the central ideas of our modern thought." As time passed, however, questions arose about Frazer's methodology, which consisted of combining works that were gathered through non-scientific methods. His use of hearsay and third-person accounts of cultural practices made anthropologists doubt the value of his work as science.

Still the book's reputation as a work of literature grew. It was recognized as having influenced such important twentieth-century thinkers as Freud...

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This section contains 369 words
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The Golden Bough from Nonfiction Classics for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.