Woman's Lore: 4,000 Years of Sirens, Serpents and Succubi (Paperback)
  • Woman's Lore: 4,000 Years of Sirens, Serpents and Succubi (Paperback)
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Woman's Lore: 4,000 Years of Sirens, Serpents and Succubi (Paperback)

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£10.99
Paperback 304 Pages
Published: 01/02/2024
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Shortlisted for the HWA Non-Fiction Crown Award 2023

The history of a demonic tradition that was stolen from women – and then won back again.

'Remarkable work... Extraordinary, meticulous detail' Literary Review

'Deftly fuses scholarly rigour, control of literary and archaeological sources' BBC History Magazine

Creatures like Lilith, the seductive first wife of Adam, and mermaids, who lured sailors to their death, are familiar figures in the genre of monstrous temptresses who use their charms to entice men to their doom.

But if we go back 4,000 years, the roots of these demons lie in horrific creatures like Lamashtu, a lion-headed Mesopotamian demon who strangled infants and murdered pregnant women, and Gello, a virgin ghost of ancient Greece who killed expectant mothers and babies out of jealousy. Far from enticing men into danger and destruction, these monsters were part of women’s ritual practices surrounding childbirth and pregnancy. So how did their mythology evolve into one focused on the seduction of men?

Sarah Clegg takes us on an absorbing and witty journey from ancient Mesopotamia to the present day, encountering a multitude of serpentine succubi, a child-eating wolf-monster of ancient Greece, the Queen of Sheba and a host of vampires. Clegg shows how these demons were appropriated by male-centred societies, before they were eventually recast as symbols of women’s liberation, offering new insights into attitudes towards womanhood, sexuality and women’s rights.

Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
ISBN: 9781803280288
Number of pages: 304
Dimensions: 198 x 129 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS

[A] remarkable work... Extraordinary, meticulous detail - Literary Review

A rewarding and profound study - Literary Review

A delightful romp through four thousand years’ worth of sinister superstition, offering an empathetic interpretation of these supernatural creatures, so-called monsters, with a particular focus on women’s experiences of them. Sarah Clegg provides thought-provoking insights into a range of beliefs and practices so often overlooked by mainstream history. - Jane Draycott

Woman's Lore is a fascinating exploration of the mythology and trope of the 'demonic woman' that has existed for centuries and persists even today. Thoughtfully researched, it is an empowering and enlightening read. - Catherine Cho

Deftly fuses scholarly rigour, control of literary and archaeological sources, an accessible, entertaining style, wonderful illustrations and a warm-hearted sympathy with women's plight across the centuries - BBC History Magazine

Well-written and engaging.... This combination of the classics and women's lib makes it an enlightening read - The Lady

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“Incredible history of women’s stories”

“Their tradition was initially something that gave women a degree of comfort and control in the horrifyingly dangerous situation of childbirth and pregnancy, and helped them through times when their children were sick... More

Hardback edition
Helpful? Upvote 13

“An amazing and expansive work of history”

4.5

I was interested in this book as soon as I saw it on the list of upcoming releases, and I am happy to report that it exceeded my expectations. As well as the promised history of the traditions regarding various... More

Hardback edition
3 similar books recommended
Helpful? Upvote 3

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