Man Into Wolf (an essay)

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Berserker
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Man Into Wolf (an essay)

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Published in 1948, this essay by scholar Robert Eisler details origins of the werewolf myth and their possible symbolic and anthropological implications.

Eisler describes how the werewolf arose during the ancient transition of European man from gatherer to hunter; channeling Jung, he depicts a "duality" of evolutionary ancestry, with species of peaceful, fruit-gathering primates contrasted against the violent, passionate kind armed with sharp canine teeth. Western man apparently arose from the latter, and our Pleistocene ancestors upheld a value of imitating predatory animals like wolves and bears as a matter of ascertaining a new carnivorous mindset, from which we have an archetypal racial memory of "wolf-men" that manifests itself in the modern era as werewolf mythology. By extension, the emotional clash resulting from this carnivorous transition manifests itself in guilt and concepts of "sin;" thus, the tendency for humans in the common era to associate werewolves with wickedness and bloodthirst.

Anthropologists in this day and age would likely dismiss many of Eisler's theories as outmoded, rooted in archaic psychology and colonial anthropology that are no longer applicable in a post-modern world. Although many of his key assertions regarding the origins of the werewolf myth still seem valid.

The entire text is free to download.

http://www.archive.org/details/manintowolf033333mbp
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