Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 14, 1903.djvu/468

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426 Reviews.

L'Ann^e Sociologique, publiee sous la direction de Emile Durkheim, ProfesseurdeSociologie a I'Universite de Bordeaux. Sixieme Annee (1901-1902). Paris : Felix Alcan. 1903.

The new volume of L^ Annee Sociologique opens with an important article by Messrs. Durkheim and Mauss on some primitive forms of classification. The authors commence by calling attention to the illusion, demonstrated by the discoveries of contemporary psychology, that mental operations in reality very complex are simple and elementary. The logical faculties of definition, deduction and induction, which seem to be essential parts of the individual understanding, are built up by a painful assemblage, laboriously organised, of elements borrowed from sources the most diverse and the most foreign to logic. What may be called the classificatory function is by no means innate. The classification of objects, as we understand it, is of comparatively recent origin. It does not go back further than Aristotle. Not only has it a history, but that history presupposes a considerable pre-history. In fact, it is impossible to exaggerate the condition of indistinction whence the human mind set out. Even to-day, a large part of our popular history, of our myths, of our religions is based on a fundamental confusion of all images and all ideas. None of them can be clearly separated from the others. Metamorphoses, transmissions of qualities, substitutions of persons, of souls and bodies, beliefs relative to the materialisation of spirits and the spiritualisation of material objects are the elements of religious thought or of folklore. Now the very idea of such transmuta- tions could not come to birth if the objects were represented in concepts duly delimited and classed.

This mentality, however, subsists no longer in European societies, save in a state of survival, and even under this form it is now only found in certain clearly localised functions of the collective thought. But there are innumerable societies in the world in which all the natural history resides in the cetiological tale, all the speculation on vegetable and animal species in metamor- phoses, all the scientific prevision in divining cycles, in magic circles and squares. In China and the whole of the Farther East, and in the whole of modern India, as in ancient Greece and Rome, the notions relative to sympathetic actions, symbolic corre- spondences, and astral influences not merely were or are widely