Marriage, Past and Present: A Debate between Robert Briffault and Bronislaw Malinowski

Marriage, Past and Present: A Debate between Robert Briffault and Bronislaw Malinowski

Marriage, Past and Present: A Debate between Robert Briffault and Bronislaw Malinowski

Marriage, Past and Present: A Debate between Robert Briffault and Bronislaw Malinowski

Excerpt

In 1927 Robert Briffault's three-volume work The Mothers was published. I read this enormous work in January 1930 and found it interesting, powerfully irritating, bold, challenging, often wrongheaded, and well-peppered with what appeared to me as original insights. The author, in addition to being an extraordinarily well-informed and industrious researcher, was also clearly a man of wit and style. Whatever one thought of his main thesis, one could not but help admire his artistry. Briffault's literary manners were something else again. 1 I had been a student of several of the authorities who appeared to be Briffault's particular black beasts. The anthropologist who was the victim of Briffault's severest criticism was referred to in a manner which can perhaps best be described as a combination of insinuation and innuendo. Since something of both the injustice and the flavour of Briffault's polemical writing is typi- . . .

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