Redheads: A Cultural History
A cultural history of redheads that tells you everything you always wanted to know about redheads . . . but were afraid to ask.
It has been said that redheads are sorceresses, that they are temperamental, evil, untrustworthy, and sexually depraved, and that they smell, especially in bad weather. In various times and cultures, red hair has not only been admired, but feared, excluded, and ridiculed as well. In this fascinating and entertaining study, historian Valerie André explores ancient traditions and legends about redheads, such as their ritual sacrifice in ancient Egypt, as well as depictions of Judas and Mary Magdalene as flame haired. Pointing out all the clichés endured by redheads throughout history, she highlights why and how prejudice against redheads is still a topical matter. Her analysis of ancient myths, paintings, and literature will be fascinating to anyone interested in delving into the historical origins of one of Western culture’s most timeworn stereotypes.
Valérie André : Valérie André teaches the history of literature and ideas at the Free University of Brussels. She has published several works on Voltaire and debauchery.