The Symbolism and Sources of Outlander

The Scottish Fairies, Folklore, Ballads, Magic and Meanings That Inspired the Series


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About the Book

Outlander is much more than a television romance about a World War II nurse and a Jacobite soldier in a fetching kilt. The series—and the massive serial novel on which it is based—has been categorized as a period drama, adventure saga, military history and fantasy epic. Inspired by the Irish legends of Fionn Mac Cumhaill and the prophecies of Brahan Seer, the storyline is filled with mythology and symbolism from around the world, from the Fair Folk and the Loch Ness monster to wendigos, ghosts, zombies and succubae.
Literary references abound, from the Bible to the classics, to Shakespeare and the English romantic poets. The series is also rich with its own symbolism: heather and white roses, the dragonfly in amber, Claire’s blue vase and wedding gown, her wedding rings and pearl necklace. This book untangles the myriad of myths, legends, symbols and literary references found in the series.

About the Author(s)

Valerie Estelle Frankel teaches English at Mission College and San Jose City College. The author of 75 popular culture books and more than 100 stories and essays, she lives in Sunnyvale, California.

Bibliographic Details

Valerie Estelle Frankel
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 220
Bibliographic Info: appendices, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2015
pISBN: 978-0-7864-9952-6
eISBN: 978-1-4766-2116-6
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Introduction 1
Book Titles and Covers 5
Clothes 18
Jewelry 30
Animals 37
Plants 42
Show Symbols 44
Other Symbols 47
Literature and Music
Literature 57
Writing on Writing 65
Literary Anachronisms 66
Music 74
Myth and the Standing Stones 81
Sun Feasts and Fire Feasts 95
Scottish Folklore
Introduction 105
Fairies and Their Kin 107
Gods, Saints, and Devils 125
Local Legends 135
Magical Animals 139
People and Their Talents 143
Rituals and Ritual Tools 164
Other Cultures’ Folklore
Caribbean-African/Vodou 173
China 176
Europe 180
Native American 190
Norse Myth 195
Conclusion 196
Appendix 1: Titles in the Outlander Series 197
Appendix 2: The Starz Series Cast and Creators 199
Bibliography 201
Index 205