Stutley, Margaret 1917-
STUTLEY, Margaret 1917-
Born 1917; married James Stutley (deceased).
Agent—c/o Author Mail, Routledge, 29 West 35th Street, New York, NY 10001.
Royal Asiatic Society (fellow).
(With husband, James Stutley) A Dictionary of Hinduism: Its Mythology, Folklore, and Development, 1500 B.C.-A.D. 1500, Routledge & Kegan Paul (London, England), 1977, published as Harper's Dictionary of Hinduism: Its Mythology, Folklore, Philosophy, Literature, and History, Harper & Row (San Francisco, CA), 1977.
Ancient Indian Magic and Folklore: An Introduction, Great Eastern (Boulder, CO), 1980.
The Illustrated Dictionary of Hindu Iconography, Routledge & Kegan Paul (Boston, MA), 1985.
Hinduism: The Eternal Law, Crucible (Wellingborough, Northamptonshire, England), 1989.
Shamanism: A Concise Introduction, Routledge (New York, NY), 2002.
Margaret Stutley became interested in Buddhism and Hinduism when she was a teenager. Later, with her husband, James Stutley, she built a library of works about India and its people. Renowned as an expert on world religions and folk tradition, Stutley has authored several books focusing on India and Hinduism. Her first book, A Dictionary of Hinduism: Its Mythology, Folklore, and Development, 1500 B.C.-A.D. 1500, was published in the United States as Harper's Dictionary of Hinduism: Its Mythology, Folklore, Philosophy, Literature, and History. Stutley collaborated with her husband to present a concise encyclopedia filled with information gleaned from the couple's twenty-plus years of research on the subject. With an emphasis on classical Hinduism, the book contains 2,500 entries focusing on specific rites and practices, overall concepts and myths, as well as important literary texts and places. Writing in American Reference Books Annual, Leon J. Stout noted, "The definitions are rigorously thorough and objective; virtually all of them provide historical as well as philosophical and religious analysis." A contributor to Choice commented that the dictionary has "small defects," including a "confused chronology of events" in some sections. The reviewer, however, also said that the book's "solid strong point" is its "truly wide range of entries."
Ancient Indian Magic and Folklore: An Introduction explores the classic 1400 B.C. text the Atharvaveda. Stutley describes aspects of magic and folklore such as various Indian charms relating health, longevity, demons, love, prosperity, and more. She also discusses amulets, curses, and cures. Holly Baker Reynolds, writing in the Journal of Asian Studies, found that the book contains a "lack of theory" that make it more effective as a "catalog" rather than a "study." A Choice contributor called Ancient Magic and Folklore a "well-written book with excellent notes, illustrations, glossary, bibliography, and index."
Stutley's The Illustrated Dictionary of Hindu Iconography contains information on cults, divinities, symbols, sects, and philosophical views encompassed by the Hindu religious tradition. The book also discusses the symbolic significance of the various parts of Hindu icons. Writing in British Book News, S. C. R. Weightman noted that Stutley focuses more on the mythology behind the imagery rather than on the visual images themselves. The book includes a brief historical introduction and then a list of English subjects and their equivalents in Sanskrit, which helps the reader find entries that are categorized according to their Sanskrit names. The book includes 150 line drawings illustrating gods, goddesses, body positions, hand gestures, and hairstyles. Weightman called the book "a useful tool for those who, for whatever reason, are trying to find their way through the luxuriant profusion that is Hindu iconography." M. Morehart, writing in Choice, noted that Stutley "writes with exemplary clarity and simplicity."
Stutley explores a different spiritual tradition in her book Shamanism: A Concise Introduction, wherein she traces the development of shamanism. Focusing primarily in Siberia and Mongolia, she also touches on shamanism in China, Korea, and Tibet, and discusses many of the misrepresented aspects of the tradition. Some of the book's topics include shamans who supposedly roam the world of the dead in search of lost souls, and the Yukaghir people who wear the flesh and bones of dead relatives in amulets. Shamanism looks at the defining features of the tradition and includes chapters on shamanic paraphernalia and the work of the shaman as a healer and diviner. Writing in the Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute, Roy Willis noted that Stutley's book has "serious limitations as an introductory text" because it excludes information on shamanism that could have been derived from information on the spiritual practice in the Amazon and throughout Central America. Nevertheless, Willis continued, Shamanism "is both highly erudite and readable."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
American Reference Books Annual, 1978, Leon J. Stout, review of Harper's Dictionary of Hinduism: Its Mythology, Folklore, Philosophy, Literature, and History, p. 503; 1987, Mary Frances White, review of The Illustrated Dictionary of Hindu Iconography, pp. 385-386.
British Book News, March, 1982, M. E. Yapp, A Dictionary of Hinduism: Its Mythology, Folklore, and Development, 1500 B.C.-A.D. 1500, p. 137l; August, 1985, S. C. R. Weightman, review of The Illustrated Dictionary of Hindu Iconography, p. 464.
Choice, May, 1978, review of Harper's Dictionary of Hinduism, p. 380; January, 1981, review of Ancient Indian Magic and Folklore: An Introduction, p. 698; January, 1986, M. Morehart, review of The Illustrated Dictionary of Hindu Iconography, p. 730.
Journal of Asian Studies, May, 1982, Holly Baker Reynolds, review of Ancient Indian Magic and Folklore, p. 626.
Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute, December, 2003, Roy Willis, review of Shamanism: A Concise Introduction, p. 818.
Library Journal, April 15, 1978, Lynn Wishart, review of Harper's Dictionary of Hinduism, p. 817.
Religious Studies Review, April, 1986, Glenn Yocum, review of The Illustrated Dictionary of Hindu Iconography, pp. 185-186; April, 1995, review of A Dictionary of Hinduism, p. 107.
Times Literary Supplement, January 31, 2003, Shoel Stadlen, review of Shamanism, p. 30.
Wilson Library Bulletin, May, 1978, Charles A. Bunge, review of Harper's Dictionary of Hinduism, p. 729.*