Annotated Bibliography
(In alphabetical order)

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Ainsworth, Ruth. Mermaid Tales. London: Lutterworth Press, 1980.

Mermaid Tales is the story of three young mermaid sisters who become curious about life on land after witnessing the fun human children have while frolicking on the sandy beaches. Eventually their curiosity gets them into trouble and it is only with the help of human friends that they find their way back to their ocean home.


Austen, Hallie Iglehart. The Heart of the Goddess: Art, Myth and Meditations of the World's Sacred Feminine. Fwd. Jean Shinoda Bolen, MD. Berkeley: Wingbow Press, 1990.

In this book Austen presents an impressive overview of the various female deities from around the world. Colorful illustrations help readers consider the perceived power and significance of each goddess with respect to their cultures of origin.


Bell, Elizabeth, Lynda Haas and Laura Sells eds. From Mouse to Mermaid: The Politics of Film, Gender and Culture. Indianapolis: Indiana University Press, 1995.

From Mouse to Mermaid is an engaging collection of essays that critique Walt Disney films from a cultural, political, and gender studies viewpoint. Questions of race and ethnicity are also considered, as well as the repercussions of translating oral folklore and traditions into visual media. Disney is analyzed as a cultural icon whose films have affected the attitudes of young children and American society at large. Of particular interest to those investigating the myth of sirens and sirenology are the essays: "Breaking the Disney Spell," by Jack Zipes and "Where do the Mermaids Stand," by Laura Sells.


Chernin, Kim. Reinventing Eve: Modern Woman in Search of Herself. New York: Harper and Row Publishers, 1987.

Reinventing Eve is a work of self-discovery and an analysis of the forces that limit women's lives. Kim Chernin presents a new reinterpretation of one of the most central stories of Western civilization, Eve's breaking of the divine decree in Eden, as her primary topic of inquiry. Chernin regards Eve as the heroine of disobedience, and examines Goddess mythology, religion, psychoanalysis, and literature, to illustrate her transforming vision of women's place in nature and culture. Reinventing Eve seeks to provide women with a means of recreating themselves, leading them to a new sense of female importance and power, and freeing them of centuries of male dominance over their mental and physical images.


Chesi, Gert. Voodoo: Africa's Secret Power. Austria: Perlinger Verlag, 1980.

Chesi's photo-intensive book documents the every day practices of Voodoo in Africa. Its effects in South America, where it was brought to the region by abducted Africans, are considered with respect to ethnological and religious science. Illustrations accompany the informative explanations of Voodoo rituals, trials, private cults and snake temples.


Climo, Shirley. A Serenade of Mermaids. New York: Harper Trophy, 1997.

Shirley Climo has collected in her short book a number of different mermaid stories from around the world. The tales come from such diverse places as Ireland, Alaska, Switzerland, Iceland, Japan, Scotland, New Zealand, and Greece. The stories have all been "retold" by the author, and each includes a brief introduction to the tale. The author's annotations contain heaps of general information about mermaids and their lore.


Dinnerstein, Dorothy. The Mermaid and the Minotaur: Sexual Arrangements and Human Malaise. New York: Other Press, 1999.

Dinnerstein's thesis is that many of the neurotic features of modern day humanity (sexism, self-hatred, exploitation of nature etc.) appear as a direct result of the fact that our earliest parent is most often female. Dinnerstein argues, that only by starting children off early with equal exposure to both the male and female parent, and starting adults off with as close to equal responsibility for children as possible, is there a chance of raising healthy adults. The author utilizes a number of sources and theories in her work, including psychoanalysis, feminist thinking, and literature.


Disney Inc. The Little Mermaid: Tales From Under the Sea. Ill. Fred Marvin. New York: Disney Press, 1991.

This book is an illustrated story based on Disney's movie The Little Mermaid. The adventures of the mermaid princess, Ariel, are recounted in a series of tales that take place before she meets her future love interest, the human, Prince Eric.


Duffy, Marguerite R. The Little Mermaid. M. Hughes Miller ed. Ill. Josephine B, Wolfe. New York: The World Publishing Company, 1966.

Duffy's book is an illustrated retelling of Hans Christian Andersen's classic story, The Little Mermaid.


Eller, Cynthia. The Myth of Matriarchal Prehistory: Why an Invented Past Won't Give Women a Future. Boston: Beacon Press, 2001.

In this book Cynthia Eller attempts to debunk the allegory of prehistoric goddess worship. According to the matriarchal myth, whose supporters include archaeologist Marija Gimbut and cultural historian Riane Eisler, before written history man and woman peacefully coexisted in a society that honored women as incarnations of the Great Goddess. Sometime between then and now a transformation occurred, leaving men as the leaders of a newly established patriarchal hierarchy - it has been that way ever since. Eller analyzes the origins of the matriarchal myth, explains its function in modern feminist thinking, and examines evidence for and against its validity. Finally, she explains why this vision of a peaceful, women-lead cultural history is something society should be wary of embracing.


Gachot, Theodore. Mermaids: Nymphs of the Sea. Photography by Leah Demchick. Hong Kong: Sing Cheong Printing Co. Ltd., 1996.

In this book Gachot has compiled an artistic collection of mermaid "photos," paintings and drawings. Mermaid stories, the histories of their legend, and accounts of mermaid sightings are also included.


Golden, Stephanie. Slaying the Mermaid. New York: Three Rivers Press, 1998.

Slaying the Mermaid addresses a problem many women seem to face - putting their own well being second to the happiness of others. Chronicling the experiences of a diverse array of women, Golden examines the image of self-sacrifice which has been a model for women since the early formation of Christianity. The evolution of this idea of feminine piety through suffering and sacrifice is traced from Saint Catherine of Siena (who starved herself to death) through Freud with his conception of women as innate masochists. Golden brings the tale of sacrifice up to date with stories of contemporary women who sacrifice so much of themselves that eventually their suffering loses meaning. Throughout this book the image of the mermaid, and in particular Hans Christian Andersen's Little Mermaid, is invoked as a metaphor for women and their place in contemporary society. After exchanging her voice and tail for a pair of legs to chase her prince with, Ariel enters into a life of suffering and hardship -dancing on bloodied feet for a man who ends up with another woman. Instead of harming the psyche by giving up too much, Slaying the Mermaid suggests a Buddhist inspired approach to self-sacrifice, wherein it can be made into a constructive and transformative experience. Ultimately, Golden suggests, if you want to run with the wolves, you must first slay the mermaid.


Harding, M. Esther. Woman's Mysteries Ancient and Modern. Boston: Shambhala, 1971.

In her book, Woman's Mysteries: Ancient and Modern, Harding analyzes the personal and archetypal significance of the divine feminine. Myths, dreams and religious symbolism are considered in an effort to show how the ancient ceremonies of the lunar goddess metaphorically represented the development of human emotions. The author maintains that these principles must be understood in order for modern male/female relationships to realize their full potential.


Harvey, Andrew. Anne Baring. The Divine Feminine: Exploring the Feminine Face of God Around the World. Berkeley: Conari Press, 1996.

The Divine Feminine is a brief exploration of how the archetype of the Goddess figure has been worshipped and articulated by humanity from the earliest pre-history to the modern day. It examines the role of the female deity in such prominent world religions as Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, and Taoism. Included also are treatments of ancient Egyptian, Greek, Sumer and Babylonian traditions regarding female deity, as well as 'native' and prehistoric conceptions of a goddess. Included in each section is a selection of texts from the relevant culture dealing with the goddess figure.


Hays, H.R. The Dangerous Sex: The Myth of Feminine Evil. New York: Pocket Book, Inc., 1965.

Hays' book examines the issue of male hostility towards women. Hays studies the problem of man's hatred and fear of women from numerous angles, from Pandora to the femme fatale and everything in between. By studying myth, history, ideology, and theology the author is able to elucidate the contradictory nature of man's feelings towards women, divided between the image of the virgin and that of the prostitute. Hays argues that by understanding the history of man's feelings towards women, and the roots of the myth of feminine evil, men can be brought to a more complete understanding of women and the feminine, and balance between the sexes can be achieved.


Heyward, Carter. Touching our Strength: The Erotic as Power and the Love of God. San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco, 1984.

In Touching our Strength, Heyward sets out to make the case for erotic mutuality as a form of liberation. She cuts down the patriarchal understanding of theology and calls for an inversion of social power, using modern lesbian relationships as the ultimate example of equality and sensuality. Throughout this book the author pairs erotic ecstasy with the power of God, claiming in the end that it is only by embracing the Christa (female Christ) as metaphor that cultural justice can be realized.


Isadora, Rachel. The Little Mermaid. New York: G.P. Putnam's Sons, 1998.

The Little Mermaid is an illustrated story of a 15-year-old mermaid princess who finds love in the world of humans, and her endeavors to attain the legs that will help her win the object of her affections.


Johnson, Robert A. Femininity Lost and Regained. New York: Harper Perennial, 1990.

In this book Johnson explores the concept of feminine identity and the repercussions of its disappearance in modern culture. He maintains that female energy is not something that is only essential to women, but something that also contributes to the personal happiness of men. Using the Oedipal myth, the Hindu story of Nala and modern literature, he attempts to show how reconnecting with the concept of the divine feminine will positively affect human society.


Johnson, Robert A. He. New York: Harper & Row Publishers, 1989.

Jungian analyst Robert Johnson uses the story of Parsifal's quest for the Holy Grail to access man's psychology. Johnson provides his own reflections on what it means to be a man, how he develops and matures, and what components make up man's complex personality. He also provides valuable insight into the feminine aspects of man's psychology.


Jordan, Michael. Encyclopedia of Gods. New York: Facts on File, Inc., 1993.

This book is an encyclopedia of gods from around the world, both ancient and modern. Gods who may be of particular interest with regards to sirenology and narrative identities are: Amphitrite, Atargatis, La Sirene, Mami Wata, Nereus, Njord, Poseidon, Rân, and Sedna.


Matthews, Caitlin. Sophia: Goddess of Wisdom Bride of God. Illinois: The Theosophical Publishing House, 2001.

Sophia: Goddess of Wisdom Bride of God is a scholarly, well written work about the little-known feminine aspect of the Godhead. Drawing upon Gnostic texts such as the "Pistis Sophia," Matthews takes the reader on a journey from pre-Christian spirituality to present day philosophy, illustrating how the divine feminine has been hidden and denied by the patriarchy. By showing how aspects of the Goddess have survived in many of today's major religions, the author hopes to revive an understanding of Sophia as an ancient giver of practical and spiritual wisdom.


Olmos, Margarite Fernandezand Lizabeth Paravisini-Gebert eds. Sacred Possessions: Vodou, Santeria, Obeah, and the Caribbean. New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 2000.

In this book Olmas and Paravisini-Gebert have compiled a collection of critical essays exploring the cultural dynamics of African-based religious traditions in the Caribbean. The philosophies of Vodou, Santeria, Obeah, Quimbois and Gaga are analyzed with regards to how they have been affected by various colonial influences, interpretations and cultural settings. Also included is a photo-essay on Cuban Santeria.


Patai, Raphael. The Hebrew Goddess. Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 1967.

The Hebrew Goddess explores Judaism's relation to the female deity from its earliest origins. Included are examinations of how early Canaanite goddesses were incorporated into Judaism, as well as several archaeological examinations of the female deity in Jewish art. Patai systematically studies myths of the Jewish people, revealing the various female personifications of God contained therein, ranging from the female attributes of the Cherubim that guarded the Ark of the Covenant, to the myths of Lilith and the visions of the Shekhina during the Talmudic period, and the rise of the Matronite in the 15th-18th Centuries.


Phillips, James Atlee. The Deadly Mermaid. New York: Dell Publishing Company, 1954

The Deadly Mermaid is typical of the "dime novel" genre - a lone man discovers his ex-wife seductively sprawled on his apartment couch, with spear gun in hand and plenty of tension in air. "She was a lady meant for burning, young but not so fresh anymore," the author writes, "excitement fluted her nostrils…A plain golden tunic hung low across her shoulders…" Invoking the image of the mermaid, Phillips writes his antagonist, Ruth, like a modern day version of Odysseus's' sirens. She does not have her ex-husband's best intentions in mind, but in the end her seductive beauty might prove too much for him to handle.


Ratisseau, Elizabeth. Mermaids. Seattle: Blue Lantern Books, 1998.

Mermaids is a beautiful collection of siren related art, and of quotations referring to their beauty, existence and mythical danger.


Rey, Terry. Our Lady of Class Struggle: The Cult of the Virgin Mary in Haiti. Trenton: Africa World Press Inc., 1999.

Rey's book is an extensive discussion of the cult of the Virgin Mary in Haiti. His discussion is rich with the history of the Caribbean slave trade, Haitian independence and the socio-political and religious turmoil of the 20th century. Each of these factors contributed to the significance of the Virgin to people from varying economic backgrounds, their devotion to her finding expression in different ways among the poor and elite of society. Through analyzing data collected over hundreds of interviews and extensive immersion in the Haitian culture, the author is able to explore the influences of both Catholicism and Voodoo - showing how Marian imagery was able to fuse with Voodooist ideologies of sex, love and beauty.


San Souci, Robert D. Sukey and the Mermaid. Ill. Brian Pinkney. New York: Aladdin Paperbacks, 1992.

The story of a young girl named Sukey whose step-fathers harsh way compel her to seek solace with a mermaid she calls Mama-Jo. Mama-Jo introduces the child to a mystical underwater world without time or pain, but also without people, leading Sukey to wonder which world is really better.


Schaup, Susanne. Sophia: Aspects of the Divine Feminine. York Beach: Nicolas-Hays, Inc., 1997.

Susanne Schaup's book is an examination of the female divinity in both Western and Eastern religious thought. Written to address the problem of balance in the Divine between the masculine and feminine attributes of god, Schaup takes a detailed look at how the Divine Feminine, or Sophia, has been portrayed and preserved from ancient times to our own. She studies both Western Religion, including treatments of biblical texts and the Lilith myth, as well as examining several Eastern religions, such as the Hindu and Chinese religions. Schaup also looks at the works of numerous Christian mystics and their writings pertaining to a Female Divinity. The thrust of the work is to advocate the restoration of the Feminine Divinity to a place of parity with the "Fathergod", in order to restore a wholeness, which Schaup claims has been lost to the West with the dominance of the patriarchal god figure.


Takahashi, Rumiko. Mermaid Forest. San Francisco: Viz Communications Inc., 1994.

Mermaid Forest is a comic-strip style book composed of three macabre stories - A Mermaid Never Smiles, Village of the Fighting Fish, and Mermaid Forest - all of which revolve around Yuta, a man who appears to be 20 years old but in reality is 500. He gained his immortality by eating the poisonous flesh of a mermaid, and has been plagued with loneliness and obsessed with finding the 'cure' ever since. Each of the stories chronicles is quest over a period of hundreds of years, with the first beginning in 1509 in Ancient Japan.


Takamiya, Toshiyuki. From the Deep Waters: Maidens of Myth and Mystery. San Francisco: Chronicle Books, 1996.

From the Deep Waters is a collection of romantic artwork depicting mermaids and sirens. Artists such as J.W. Waterhouse, Frederick Lord Leighton, Gustav Klimt and Edward Burne-Jones are represented.


Tamar, Erika. Donnatalee: A Mermaid Adventure. Ill. Barbara Lambase. San Diego: Harcourt Brace & Company, 1998.

Tamar's book is a children's story about the adventures of little girl who turns into a mermaid for a day.


Wechsler, Herman J. Gods and Goddesses In Art and Legend. New York: Washington Square Press, Inc., 1961.

Wechsler's work is a collection of Classical Greek myths about the gods and goddesses. Contained within the book are numerous works of art, primarily of painters of the Italian Renaissance, depicting the stories and characters of the myths. Wechsler has included a wide range of myths, including but not limited to, Hercules, the story of the Golden Fleece, selections from the tale of Ulysses, and stories of the Creation. Accompanying the myths are illustrations of several works of art pertaining to the legends at hand. The author provides a brief analysis of each work of art as well as commenting on the myths themselves. Of particular notice to students of sirenology are the myths of Ulysses and the Sirens, Zeus and the Nymph, and the Birth of Venus.


Woodman, Marion. The Pregnant Virgin: A Process of Psychological Transformation. Toronto: Inner City Books, 1985.

Marion Woodman, a Jungian analyst, draws upon her own experience and extensive case materials in this book to examine the process of change in women and the role of femininity in society. The main concept upon which this book dwells is change. Woodman uses the metaphor of a butterfly in a chrysalis as the basis of her book, asserting that a chrysalis phase is necessary for true and lasting changes to take place. Woodman further argues that one must withdraw oneself from exterior forces to dwell upon the inner forces which rage at the heart of such psychological problems as addiction, suicidal depression, and more. Woodman presents a complicated prescription of how women can effect such lasting changes, including through ritual and self-awareness in order to create a more complete and independent woman. The metaphor of the pregnant virgin itself implies an archetypal character, the Virgin, full of possibilities for change, and capable of bringing unity to the body and the soul.


Wurtzel, Elizabeth. Bitch: In Praise of Difficult Women. New York: Random House, 1998.

Bitch critiques modern gender relations and illuminates the double standard imposed upon women by society. On the one hand, modern western culture is obsessed with virginal goodness, and on the other, completely enthralled by the idea of feminine badness. By analyzing the disparate lives of women everywhere from Delilah to Amy Fisher, Wurtzel catalogues how women who have used their sexuality, youth and beauty to further their ambitions are often dismissed, condemned, or in the very least, labeled difficult and "bitchy."



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