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Weston, Jessie (1850–1928) By Hawkes, Joel

DOI: 10.4324/0123456789-REM1841-1
Published: 26/04/2018
Retrieved: 22 May 2024, from


Jessie Laidlay Weston was a British independent scholar and folklorist best known for her influential study From Ritual to Romance (1920), which sought to trace the Christian grail legend, specifically the story of the Fisher King, back to pre-Christian origins. Her analysis draws from Sir James Frazer’s comparative study of religion, The Golden Bough (1890), and its claim that modern religion evolved from older fertility cults and their rites of the dying god/king. The ‘Cambridge Ritualists’, who also took much inspiration from Frazer, likewise influenced Weston—particularly the work of Jane Ellen Harrison—with their theories of ritual practice and their shared belief that ritual preceded myth, with storytelling always an explanation of older rites.

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Hawkes, Joel. Weston, Jessie (1850–1928). Routledge Encyclopedia of Modernism, Taylor and Francis,

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