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Woman's Encyclopedia of Myths and Secrets
ISBN 006250925X / 9780062509253 / 0-06-250925-X
List price $34.95
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This fascinating, scholarly hodgepodge spotlights the feminist underpinnings of myth, religion, and culture. Before being lionized as zaftig Norse angels who guided strong warriors to Valhalla, Valkyries may have offered rebirth through cannibalization. "Little Red Riding Hood" was based on Diana, goddess of the hunt. Marriage was once considered a sin, not a sacred union: St. Bernard once proclaimed "it was easier for a man to bring the dead back to life than to live with a woman without endangering his soul." A few of the other topics expounded upon are the Milky Way, Cinderella, the moon, and males giving birth. While some of the references put a cranky feminist spin on words that might in context have different meaning--St. Paul's oft-quoted "better to marry than to burn," for example--much in this vast tome will dazzle dabblers and intellectuals alike. [via]