Skip to main content

Fantastic Creatures in Mythology and Folklore

20 November 2018

Juliette Wood
Juliette Wood launches a new book.

World-renowned folklorist and Continuing and Professional Education (CPE) tutor, Dr Juliette Wood, has launched a fascinating new book: Fantastic Creatures in Mythology and Folklore: From Medieval Times to the Present Day.

Juliette has taught short courses and delivered public lectures for CPE for many years and is a firm favourite with our students. Drawing on historical sources, myth and folklore, the book focuses on the roles of fantastical beasts - particularly the unicorn, the mermaid, and the dragon - in a series of thematic chapters organised according to their legendary dwelling place, be this land, sea, or air. Juliette comments:

“I really wish that hippogriffs and unicorns were real. Indeed all the beasts I encountered when I wrote this book, even the badly behaved ones, became friends, at least in my imagination. Fantastic beasts have attracted a variety of myths, legends and traditions both old and new. Many of them, such as mermaids, griffins and dragons, are familiar. Some, like Pegasus and the kraken, originate in mythology or, like the hippogriff, are creations of literary imagination. Still others, like the unicorn, have become creatures of fantasy, as belief in their reality has waned.

Questions about them are easier to pose than to answer. Are they figments of our imagination, primordial monsters or just distortions of undiscovered species? The relationship between fantastic creatures and the cultures that create them is as complex as it is fascinating, and this book hopes to shed light on their origin and development and provide at least partial answers to these questions.”

Juliette continues to teach at CPE in the new year. Things that go Bump in the Night: Magic, Witchcraft and the Occult starts on 31st January 2019, just one of many vibrant and interesting Humanities courses on offer.  Juliette comments:

“Films, literature, mass media and lifestyle choices in today’s world reflect the continuing interest in magic and witchcraft. Beliefs about its existence and the practice have shaped attitudes from the classical period to the present. This course will trace the history and development of ideas about magic and witchcraft and examines how they affected nineteenth-century literature and the associated ‘occult- revival’, as well as new developments in contemporary paganism and popular culture.”

Dr Juliette Wood is also a medieval specialist who teaches for the School of History, Archaeology and Religion, and the School of Welsh at Cardiff University. She is the author of numerous books and she is a regular panel member on BBC Radio 4’s In Our Time series.

We have a vast number of interesting part-time courses for adults starting in January. Visit our full courses listing.

Further details of Juliette’s book may be found online.

Things that go Bump in the Night: Magic, Witchcraft and the Occult
Things that go Bump in the Night: Magic, Witchcraft and the Occult

Share this story