Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 17, 1906.djvu/526

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Mythes et L^gendes d'Australie : Etudes d'Ethnographie ET DE SociOLOGiE. ARNOLD VAN Gennep. Paris, E. Guilmoto, N.D. [Preface dated November, 1905.]

The author of Tabou et Totemisme d, Madagascar has here sought to put the French pubHc in a position to judge of the problems raised by recent discoveries on the sociology and religious beliefs of the natives of Australia now under discussion among anthro- pologists. The method employed is to give translations from the English of all the most important traditions, preceded by a general introduction occupying half the volume, in which the problems are subjected to a full and critical consideration. A bibliographical notice enumerates as the works most frequently consulted those of Brough Smyth, Curr, Mrs. Langloh Parker, Spencer and Gillen, Howitt, and Roth, and contains critical strictures upon them.

On the whole the conclusions adopted are those of Dr. Frazer, whom M. van Gennep defends against Mr. Lang's attacks, himself attacking in turn M. Durkheim's view of Australian sociology. After an account of the somatic and cultural type of the natives and an excellent discussion of the value of cultural types (as embodied in various practices, the use of certain implements, and so forth) in determining ethnic relations, he considers the different systems of filiation. This naturally involves a pronouncement on the relative primitivity of the Arunta. Though he is careful to characterize the conclusion of Messrs. Spencer and Gillen to this effect as still only an hypothesis, he argues in favour of it and evidently accepts