Idols of Perversity

Renee Rosen-Wakeford reviews Idols of Perversity: Fantasies of Feminine Evil in Fin-De-Siècle Culture by Bram Dijkstra in the Bkwyrm archive.

Although technically this book has nothing to do with the occult per se–it’s a discussion of feminine imagery and misogyny in the art of the end of the nineteenth and the beginning of the twentieth century–it is illuminating for those interested in the cultural milieu from which the concept of the Great Goddess emerged. Whether or not you believe that the ancients actually worshipped one Great Mother Goddess, it’s clear that much of the Wiccan (and general Neopagan) concept the Goddess has been heavily influenced by turn of the century ideas of the Feminine, and a knowledge of these ideas is essential in order to comprehend modern beliefs about the Goddess and why these beliefs often differ from ancient beliefs about individual goddesses. In a few places, the author’s reasoning becomes a bit strained as he tries to discover the connections between various images and ideas, but overall, this is a fascinating survey of the idea of the Feminine in the turn of the century.

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