British anthropologist and religious historian; professor at Liverpool and Cambridge.
His crowning achievement, the monumental The Golden Bough: A Study in Magic and Religion (12 vols., 1911-1915) follows the motif of divine kingship through the byways of history and myth. The effect of the divine king upon the fertility of the land is explained by Frazer using a theory of two principles of magic: the principle of similarity and the principle of contagion. Thus similarity magic governs the magical interaction of objects with shared appearance or characteristics, whereas contagion magic deals with the magical interaction of objects which had once been in close physical contact.
An abridged version of the Golden Bough is in circulation, but the full version is really to be prefered.