Primitive Rebels: Studies in Archaic Forms of Social Movement in the 19th and 20th Centuries

Primitive Rebels: Studies in Archaic Forms of Social Movement in the 19th and 20th Centuries

Primitive Rebels: Studies in Archaic Forms of Social Movement in the 19th and 20th Centuries

Primitive Rebels: Studies in Archaic Forms of Social Movement in the 19th and 20th Centuries

Excerpt

My interest in the subjects with which this book deals was first aroused some years ago by Professor Ambrogio Donini of Rome, who told me something about the Tuscan Lazzarettists and the sectarians of Southern Italy. Professor Max Gluckman arranged for me to be invited in 1956 to give three Simon Lectures on them at the University of Manchester, and I was fortunate enough on that occasion to be able to discuss the subject with him and with a group of anthropologists, historians, economists and political scientists, including such experts on millenarian movements as Dr. Peter Worsley and Professor Norman Cohn. The present book is an expansion of these lectures, but contains additional chapters on some topics I had intended to include in the original lectures, but could not. I am grateful to the University of Manchester, and especially to Professor Gluckman without whose encouragement this book would certainly not have been written.

Those whose brains I have picked are too numerous to acknowledge individually. I have tried, where necessary, to do so in footnotes. These also show on which books I have drawn particularly heavily. I should like to thank also the library staffs of the British Museum, the Cambridge University Library, the British Library of Political Science, the London Library, the Feltrinelli Library, Milan, the University Library of Granada, the International Institute for Social History, Amsterdam, the Giustino Fortunato Library, Rome, and the Municipal Libraries of Cadiz, Spain, and Cosenza, Italy, for their kindness to a foreign student.

A subject such as this cannot be studied from documents alone. Some personal contact, however slight, with the people and even the places about which the historian writes, is essential if he is to understand problems which are exceedingly remote from the normal life of the British university teacher. Every reader of that classic study of primitive social rebellion, Euclides da Cunha Rebellion in the Backlands, will be aware of how much that great work owes to the author's first-hand knowledge of, and 'feel' for, the Brazilian backwoodsmen and their world. Whether I have succeeded in understanding the places and people in this book . . .

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