Release date: 19th March 2013
Published by: W. W. Norton and Co.
ISBN No: 978 0393065367
From southern Greece to northern Russia, people have long believed in female spirits, bringers of fertility, who dance in the fields and forests. So appealing were these spirit-maidens that they took up residence in nineteenth-century Romantic literature. Elizabeth Wayland Barber has sleuthed through ethnographic lore and archaeological reports of east and southeast Europe, translating folktales about these "dancing goddesses" as well as eyewitness accounts of traditional rituals - texts that offer new perspectives on dance in agrarian society. She then traces these goddesses and their dances back through the Romans and Greeks to the first farmers of Europe. Along the way, she locates the origins of many customs, including colouring Easter eggs and throwing rice at the bride.
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