Tuesday, 27 August 2013

The Werewolf in European Culture

Matthew Beresford, author of From Demons to Dracula: The Creation of the Modern Vampire Myth, is shortly publishing a book on the related subject of werewolves: The White Devil: The Werewolf in European Culture. According to the publishers, Reaktion Books,

'The werewolf - a human with the ability to shapeshift into a wolf- is a creature with a firm hold on the modern imagination. It prowls our countryside and cinema screens alike on the eve of a full moon. Yet the birth of the werewolf myth can be traced back thousands of years into prehistory. The White Devil tracks the development of the myth of the terrifying lycanthrope as it progresses through history to the present day.

How do Iron Age bog bodies, Roman gods, Joan of Arc, Adolf Hitler, and Sigmund Freud all feature in the story of the werewolf myth? Matthew Beresford answers these questions and more in considering early death and burial rites, mythology, folklore, archaeological evidence and local superstitions through to medieval literary offerings, werewolf trials, medical explanations, alleged sightings, and cinema.

The White Devil draws on a wide variety of sources in order to understand why the werewolf has been part of cultural beliefs and mythology across Europe, tracing mankind's fascination with the beast over time. From the early wolf cults to the Anglo-Saxon criminal punishments, medieval werewolf executions and folkloric tales of noble werewolves, as well as psychological and medical explanations, it offers a new understanding of how the werewolf has survived within European culture for thousands of years.'

From the Alpenzoo in Innsbruck, Austria

1 comment:

Matt Beresford said...

Hi Niels,

Thanks for the mention - you may like to know the book is now out and available through Amazon.co.uk - a piece for the Huffington Post will follow in October.

Thanks, Matthew Beresford

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