Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 22, 1911.djvu/543

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Reviews. 507

M. van Gennep has collected some of the results of his extensive and frequently recondite learning. Of the essays included, a few at all events, possibly all, have already appeared in periodicals inaccessible to the great body of folklore students; and the author has done well to reprint them in a more permanent form, and thus to appeal to a wider public.

In the earlier essays he recalls the fact that in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries a succession of writers in France (among whom was the great Montesquieu) laid the foundation of the modern science of ethnography before the subject attracted attention elsewhere. An extended analysis is given of Demennier's work published in 1776 and entitled L^ Esprit des usages et des coiitunies des differents peuples. This analysis is of great interest, disclosing as it does an astonishingly modern appreciation of the value of comparison between the customs of the various peoples in the lower culture, and a width and cathohcity of research quite unexpected. In another essay the author gives an account of the new Ethnographic Museum opened five years ago at Cologne. The nucleus of this museum was furnished by the collections of the late Dr. W. Joest. The building was erected by the munificence of the Rautenstrauch family, with which Dr. Joest was connected by marriage ; and the collections have been arranged by Dr. Foy, the director. M. van Gennep's account is such as to whet the desire of every student to go and study the museum and its contents for himself. On these facts he bases a powerful claim for the recognition of Ethnography by the French government and universities in a much more ample measure than hitherto ; and he does not forget to allege the examples not only of Germany, but also of England and the United States.

Some of the essays are controversial. Among others he combats with much force the revival by Wundt and Ehrenreich of the sun-myth and other crude and dogmatic interpretations of mythology, which were dead, if not buried, twenty years ago. Elsewhere he shows how the legends of saints and martyrs supplied during the Middle Ages the human hunger for romance, and contends that the modern indifference to these imaginative tales has been largely due to the development of the romaii- feiiilleton.