The Lost Language of Symbolism: An Inquiry into the Origin of Certain Letters, Words, Names, Fairy-Tales, Folklore, and Mythologies, Vol. 1 (Paperback)
With hundreds of accompanying illustrations, Harold Bayley investigates symbols and imagery of old fairy tales, myths and ancient religions.
Bayley's enquiries are varied and eclectic, with topics ranging from the life of the ancient king Solomon, to the popular fairy story Cinderella, to the works of Renaissance scholar Comenius. The ancient pantheons of Greek and Roman Gods, and various mythologies dating to antiquity, also appear. The author consistently annotates his text with contemporary and historical sources, so that the interested reader may understand how deep a role symbolism carries.
The author's precision lends a scholarly value to his work: each topic is covered with exactitude, examples listed, drawings referred to, and additional detail appended as necessary. This method is repeated many times, yet Bayley's writing style and appreciation for his subjects never makes the process feel mechanical or stilted. Rather, it is with fascination that symbols in old literature are revealed, their effect still present in the modern day. Whether taken as a standalone work, or as a reference for further investigations, The Lost Language of Symbolism is a worthwhile read.