We use cookies to improve your website experience. To learn about our use of cookies and how you can manage your cookie settings, please see our Cookie Policy. By closing this message, you are consenting to our use of cookies.

Dragons: Virtual Special Issue 11, 2020

VSI's

Virtual Special Issues of Folklore are selections of articles on specific themes from our journal, hand picked by our editor Jessica Hemming. With a podcast introduction by Juliette Wood, and a bibliography of featured articles and further reading. All the articles are free to download by members of The Folklore Society.

Excerpt from the Dragons podcast

From Fafnir to Smaug, to the pearl-chasing Chinese long and the dragons that stalk the world of Internet games, these mythical creatures, whether traditional or literary, carry great symbolic value. The mound-dwelling, fire-breathing dragon in Beowulf belongs to a group of mythical beasts known throughout the world. J.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle Earth novels have influenced the perception of dragons as winged, fire-breathing, reptilian quadrupeds, but, as so often with mythical animals, they come in many forms. Some are wingless, legless, or multi-headed, while the popular heraldic beast, the wyvern, has two legs, wings, and a serpentine tail. The names reveal something of their heritage. ‘Dragon’ comes from the Greek drakon (a large serpent). ‘Wyvern’ is derived from the Latin for viper (vipera), and the Germanic word, wyrm, is cognate with Latin vermis (worm).

Listen to the podcast by Juliette Wood

Download a transcript

Featured Articles from Folklore

The Dragon of La Trinità: An Italian Folk-Tale, by Mary Lovett Cameron,  vol. 21/3, 1910

The Hill of the Dragon: Anglo-Saxon Burial Mounds in Literature and Archaeology, by Hilda R. Ellis Davidson, vol. 61/4, 1950

Saint Martha and the Dragon, by Eliza Gutch, vol. 63/4, 1952

Fifty British Dragon Tales: An Analysis, by Jacqueline Simpson, vol. 89/1, 78

Sigemund the Dragon-Slayer, by Annelise Talbot, vol. 94/2, 1983

Dragons in Twentieth-Century Fiction, by Sandra Unerman, vol. 113/1, 2002

Further Reading

Prince Mohammad, Fereydun, Thraētaona, and Trita Āptya: Themes and Connections in Persian Narratives, by Mehri Bagheri, 112/2, 2001

Snake and Dragon Lore of Japan, by F. J. Daniels, vol. 71/3, 1960

An Interpretation of a Lisu Tale, by Paul Durrenberger, vol. 89/1, 1978

The Sussex Serpent, by Jeremy Harte, vol. 105/1-2, 1994

Some West Sussex Superstitions Lingering in 1868, by Charlotte Latham, Folk-Lore Record, vol. 1/1, 1878

Dragons and Big Cats, by George Monger, vol. 103/2, 1992

Men, Saints, or Dragons?, by David S. Reese, vol. 87/1, 1976

Sussex Local Legends, by Jacqueline Simpson, vol. 84/3, 1973