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The Evolution of the Dragon   By: (1871-1937)

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In "The Evolution of the Dragon", Grafton Elliot Smith delves deeply into the captivating world of dragon lore and presents an intriguing argument about its origins across different cultures. Smith's extensive research and meticulous attention to detail make this book a must-read for both folklore enthusiasts and academic scholars.

One of the most impressive aspects of Smith's work is his ability to synthesize information from various ancient civilizations, comparing their myths, legends, and artwork to unravel the intricate evolution of dragon mythology. His comprehensive exploration spans across continents and centuries, highlighting the astonishing similarities and subtle discrepancies in the portrayal of these mythical beasts.

Smith's writing style is engaging and accessible, ensuring that readers with different levels of familiarity with the subject matter can easily comprehend the information presented. He seamlessly interweaves historical facts with mythical tales, enabling readers to appreciate the cultural significance and symbolism associated with dragons.

The author's thorough analysis of ancient texts, artwork, and archaeological findings provides a solid foundation for his arguments, making "The Evolution of the Dragon" a credible and well-researched scholarly work. Furthermore, Smith's inclusion of meticulously researched illustrations enhances the reading experience, giving readers a visual representation of the various dragon depictions discussed throughout the book.

While "The Evolution of the Dragon" primarily focuses on the historical and cultural evolution of dragons, Smith also incorporates scientific theories and hypotheses to explain the possible biological sources of the dragon myth. This blending of mythology and science adds an intriguing layer to the narrative, encouraging readers to ponder the underlying reasons behind the enduring fascination with these fantastical creatures.

Despite its many strengths, it's worth noting that "The Evolution of the Dragon" can be quite dense and academic, which may deter some casual readers. The sheer volume of information and Smith's meticulous attention to detail may overwhelm those seeking a more general overview of dragon mythology. However, for those with a keen interest in the subject matter or an academic background, this book is an invaluable resource.

In conclusion, "The Evolution of the Dragon" is an impressive scholarly work that offers a comprehensive and insightful examination of dragon mythology. Grafton Elliot Smith's meticulous research, engaging writing style, and compelling argumentation make it an indispensable resource for anyone fascinated by the origins and cultural significance of these mythical beings.

First Page:







London, New York, Chicago, Bombay, Calcutta, Madras



Some explanation is due to the reader of the form and scope of these elaborations of the lectures which I have given at the John Rylands Library during the last three winters.

They deal with a wide range of topics, and the thread which binds them more or less intimately into one connected story is only imperfectly expressed in the title "The Evolution of the Dragon".

The book has been written in rare moments of leisure snatched from a variety of arduous war time occupations; and it reveals only too plainly the traces of this disjointed process of composition. On 23 February, 1915, I presented to the Manchester Literary and Philosophical Society an essay on the spread of certain customs and beliefs in ancient times under the title "On the Significance of the Geographical Distribution of the Practice of Mummification," and in my Rylands Lecture two weeks later I summed up the general conclusions.[1] In view of the lively controversies that followed the publication of the former of these addresses, I devoted my next Rylands Lecture (9 February, 1916) to the discussion of "The Relationship of the Egyptian Practice of Mummification to the Development of Civilization"... Continue reading book >>

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