1 06 Reviews.
The Origin of Civilisation and the Primitive Condition of Man. By the Right Hon. Lord Aveburv, P.C, F.R.S., D.C.L., LL.D. Sixth edition, with numerous additions. Longmans, Green, & Co. 1902. 8vo. Price i8s.
A NEW book by Lord Avebury is eagerly welcomed by the intelli- gent public, and folklorists hoped, when they saw the announce- ment of a sixth edition with numerous additions of the well-known work on The Origin of Civilisation and the Primitive Condition of Man, that Lord Avebury would present his fellow students with his ripened conclusions and generalisations on these important subjects ; but the reader will be disappointed if he expects to find any difference of presentment or of interpretation from those afforded in the first edition of 1870. Probably every member of the Society has read one of the five earlier editions of the book, and consequently it is only necessary to glance through this edition in order to notice the later accretions, or it may be of bibliographical interest to some to note the omissions. On the whole the former do not alter the character of the book in any way, and it would have been advisable to have verified them before going to press. To take three examples : footnote 6, p. 273, is a wrong reference ; on p. 99 " Henry group " is a misprint for Hervey group ; " E. F. von Thurm " (p. 228), should be E. F. im Thurn. But after all, who among us dare throw stones ?
There are very numerous instances where additions or qualifica- tions might very well have been made so as to bring the book more into line with our present knowledge. We might have expected, for example, some notice to have been taken of the finds during recent years in French caves, which modify some of the conclusions in chapter ii. The magical object of personal mutilation and adornment is insufificiently noted, although a con- siderable amount of evidence of this sort has come to light. It is rather a pity to describe (p. 103) Bachofen, McLennan, and Morgan as "the most recent authors who have studied this subject," i.e. communal marriage. It is useless to give further instances, and we all know that Lord Avebury is a very busy man. As Lord Avebury's views have been so long before the public, and as they have been frequently discussed, there is nothing more that can be said with profit on the subject. The publishers evidently regard