Item #57433 Four Autograph Letters, signed, to Grant Allen. James G. Frazer.

Frazer to Grant Allen on Animism and His Creative Process

Four Autograph Letters, signed, to Grant Allen.

1890-1897.

1-1/2 to 4 pp. 4 vols. 12mo. Frazer to Grant Allen on Animism and His Creative Process. Fine Vickery, The Literary Impact of The Golden Bough, pp. 88-89. Item #57433

A fascinating group of letters whose scope ranges from animism and tree worship to private topics. In one letter, Frazer thanks Allen “for the kind present of ‘The Attis’” (Allen's translation of The Attis of Caius Valerius Catullus … with dissertations on the myth of Attis, on the origin of tree-worship …, 1892). Frazer later devoted a section to this subject in Adonis, Attis, Osiris. Studies in the History of Oriental Religion (1906).
Elsewhere, Frazer observes, "I should be pleased and proud to make your acquaintance … Whether the profit would be mutual, is, I fear, much more than doubtful. I am no talker and I am afraid you would find me an exceedingly dull fellow. The few ideas I have occur at long intervals, and though, by being stored up and set out together in a book, they make a little show, yet the intervals (which form much the greater part of my life) are times of ‘long barren silence' and intellectual vacuity. Not that I am idle at such times, I am reading and studying. But the process of absorbing ideas, however pleasurable to the absorber, is hardly interesting to the bystander. Forgive me for saying so much about myself … It must be very disappointing, after reading a book with interest or even admiration, to find that the writer is a very dull person.”
The recipient is Charles Grant Blairfindie Allen (1848-1899), a prolific Canadian-born writer, reviled in the mid 1890s as “the prophet of the new hedonism.” As Vickery notes, discussing The Attis, “the first to make extensive use of Frazer's ideas was Grant Allen … he drew heavily on The Golden Bough, which he calls 'a profound and epoch-making work' … Allen's ideas are of less importance than is the swiftness with which he absorbed and applied the perspectives afforded classical literature by The Golden Bough.”
Frazer autograph material is quite uncommon, especially with such good content.

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