Wolves have been despised and persecuted by humans for centuries. They were eradicated completely in England by about 1509 and in Scotland and Ireland in the mid-eighteenth century. Yet superstitions and folklore continue to fuel a fear of wolves in modern day Britain - even though many of these popular beliefs are inaccurate. In "Howls of Imagination", Dr Paul Williams describes how these beliefs have arisen, and contrasts them with known information about wolves - and the relatively rare number of wolf attacks on humans. Why did Christian allegories give wolves a 'bad press'? How did popular literature breed a hybrid lore by mixing legends about real wolves with myths about werewolves? Have children really been reared by wolves? And, above all, should we afraid of 'the big bad wolf' or simply consign such ideas to the scrap bin of erroneous stereotypes? "Howls of Imagination" reveals how folklore and myth can create and sustain misleading ideas while simultaneously offering a more factual understanding of this iconic animal of the wilderness.
Dr Paul Williams completed a PhD thesis on wolves in folklore in 2004 at Sheffield University. His short fiction and poetry has been published in magazines and anthologies such as Focus and Roadworks.