Nuovo libro di Ronald Hutton: The Druids (2007)

Fra le sua varie pubblicazioni, Ronald Hutton, professore di storia alla Bristol University, ha dedicato volumi assai interessanti alla storia del calendario rituale nel Regno Unito (The Stations of the Sun. A History of the Ritual Year in Britain. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press, 1996) e alla storia del paganesimo contemporaneo (il pioneristico The Triumph of the Moon. A History of Modern Pagan Witchcraft. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press, 1999; si vedano anche i saggi in argomento nell’antologia Witches, Druids and King Arthur (London, UK: Hambledon and London, 2003)).

Lo scorso marzo ha pubblicato il primo volume dei due che intende dedicare ai druidi. Si tratta di

Hutton, Ronald (2007). The Druids. London: Hambledon Continuum.

che mi è arrivato ieri.

Ecco la seconda di copertina:

Ronald Hutton’s latest book is the first comprehensive study of what people have thought about the ancient Druids and why. Written in a racy and accessible style, it is essential reading for everyone interested in exploring our mysterious past.

Most books written on the Druids hitherto have been by archaeologists specialising in the Iron Age, who have occupied a great deal of space trying to find things to say about the ‘original’ ancient priesthood. Most have then devoted a final section of their books to people who have called themselves Druids since 1700 – until recently with contemptuous dismissal. Hutton’s contention is that the sources for the ancient Druids are so few and unreliable that almost nothing certain can be said about them. Instead, he reverses the traditional balance of interest to look at the many ways in which Druids have been imagined in Britain since 1500, and what this tells us about modern and early modern society. In the process, he achieves many new insights into the development of British national identities, established and ‘alternative’ religions, literary culture, fraternal organisation and protest movements. He also suggests new ways in which the discipline of archaeology can be perceived – which will delight some practitioners and enrage others.

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