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

Symbols
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
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