Magic, Science and Religion: And Other Essays

Magic, Science and Religion: And Other Essays

Magic, Science and Religion: And Other Essays

Magic, Science and Religion: And Other Essays

Excerpt

No writer of our times has done more than Bronislaw Malinowski to bring together in single comprehension the warm reality of human living and the cool abstractions of science. His pages have become an almost indispensable link between the knowing of exotic and remote people as we know our own neighbors and brothers, and conceptual and theoretical knowledge about mankind. The novelist of talent brings particular men and women to our direct acquaintance, but he does not convert this swift and intimate understanding into the formal generalizations of science. On the other hand, many scientific students of society state such general formulations, but without providing that direct acquaintance with real people-that sense of being there as the work is done or the spell performed-which makes the abstract generalization truly meaningful and convincing. Malinowski's gift was double: it consisted both in the genius given usually to artists and in the scientist's power to see and to declare the universal in the particular. Malinowski's reader is provided with a set of concepts as to religion, magic, science, rite and myth in the course of forming vivid impressions and understandings of the Trobrianders into whose life he is so charmingly drawn.

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