The History of Human Marriage - Vol. 1

The History of Human Marriage - Vol. 1

The History of Human Marriage - Vol. 1

The History of Human Marriage - Vol. 1

Excerpt

Having read the proofs of Mr. Westermarck's book I am asked by the publishers to say a few words by way of introducing the work to English readers. This I have great pleasure in doing, because I have seldom read a more thorough or a more philosophic discussion of some of the most difficult, and at the same time interesting, problems of anthropology.

The origin and development of human marriage have been discussed by such eminent writers as Darwin, Spencer, Morgan, Lubbock, and many others. On some of the more important questions involved in it all these writers are in general accord, and this agreement has led to their opinions being widely accepted as if they were well-established conclusions of science. But on several of these points Mr. Westermarck has arrived at different, and sometimes diametrically opposite, conclusions, and he has done so after a most complete and painstaking investigation of all the available facts.

With such an array of authority on the one side and a hitherto unknown student on the other, it will certainly be thought that all the probabilities are against the latter. Yet I venture to anticipate that the verdict of independent thinkers will, on most of these disputed points, be in favour . . .

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