The White Devil: The Werewolf in European Culture by Matthew Beresford, Reaktion Books, 262 pages
Perhaps the oldest of our mythical monsters, the werewolf follows humans through ancient history like a dog locked on a scent. In his new survey of European cultures’ ancient and enduring fascination with the fabled beast, journalist and archaeologist Matthew Beresford traces the werewolf’s origins in prehistory as a talisman of hunting magic in nomadic cultures and later as a transformative model of virility and courage in the pagan warrior societies of the Greeks, Romans, and Vikings. The predatory monster we know today emerges only recently in human history, the author argues, when the values of an ascendant agricultural and Christian class saw the fanged and tireless huntsman as a sinful creature whose mythic model of masculinity was subversive and dangerous.
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