From Library Journal
This excellent dictionary compiles information on 9500 female deities, deified women, female spirits, nymphs, and fairies. The entries are alphabetically listed under geographic locations: Africa, Central and Mesoamerican, Eastern Europe, Egypt, the Far East, the Greek and Roman empires, the Himalayas, the Indian subcontinent, the Near East, North America, Northern Europe, Oceana, Southeast Asia, and Western Europe. Each entry lists the name, country of origin, major attribute and characterization of the goddess in question, and entries marked with an icon relate succinctly a portion of her legend. A name index and an index by attribute are included, and an extensive bibliography provides an excellent resource for further scholarship. Highly recommended for any reference collection.
Gail Wood, SUNY Coll. of Technology Lib., Alfred
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.
The authors aim "to compile as much accurate information as possible about goddesses," thus "adding to the pool of potential female role models, both fierce and gentle." The scope includes monsters, evil spirits, and witches. Ann has a graduate degree in religious studies; Imel is a professional writer. Twelve consultants are listed, most from the University of Colorado.
Entries are listed geographically, within 12 regions (Africa, Indian Subcontinent, Western Europe, etc.). They vary in scope; they may note region, people, attributes, description, translation of name, synonyms, cross-references, variant forms, and citations to the bibliography. For example, Esesar, a goddess of the Gbanya people of Ghana, has the attributes of earth and nature. She is described as an "earth goddess whose husband is the sky god, Ebore," and a reference is given to a source in the bibliography. Typically terse, few entries include detail. Occasionally, longer entries relate stories about the goddess and are highlighted with an icon that is specific to that chapter. Goddesses are indexed by name and by attribute (e.g., agriculture, household affairs), subdivided by region. The bibliography, to which entries are keyed, is lengthy.
No new ground is broken here; however, the more than 8,000 entries make this larger than any other collection of women deities. Whether this is a way to identify role models is debatable. Leach's more general Guide to the Gods [RBB Mr 15 92] is cited often here and is preferred for most libraries. Specialized collections (e.g., women's studies, anthropology, religion) will want to consider Goddesses in World Mythology.
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