it might get into somebody’s hands who thus would come into possession of a piece of her personality. In her frenzied faithfulness, which she needed to protect herself against the temptations of her phantasy, she had created for herself the commandment, “not to give away anything of her personality.” To this belonged first of all her name, then by further application her handwriting, so that she finally gave up writing.
Thus it no longer seems strange to us that savages should consider a dead person’s name as a part of his personality and that it should be subjected to the same taboo as the deceased. Calling a dead person by name can also be traced back to contact with him, so that we can turn our attention to the more inclusive problem of why this contact is visited with such a severe taboo.
The nearest explanation would point to the natural horror which a corpse inspires, especially in view of the changes so soon noticeable after death. Mourning for a dead person must also be considered as a sufficient motive for everything which has reference to him. But horror of the corpse evidently does not cover all the details of taboo rules, and mourning can never explain to us why the mention of the dead is a severe insult to his survivors. On the contrary, mourning loves to preoccupy itself with the deceased, to elaborate his memory, and preserve it for