Review of Primitive Society by E.S. Hartland

Ellsworth Faris

The subtitle of this work is necessary to prevent the title from being misleading. The book is an interesting defense of a single thesis, that of Bachofen, that the original form of the family was maternal or matrilineal or matrilocal and that the recognition of the father and of his rights and authority is a later development. Chapters of ten to seventeen small pages are written on each of the seven regions of the world: Australia, the Pacific Islands, Africa, India, Indonesia, Asia and Europe, and America. The introductory and concluding chapters weave the facts into an intelligible and clear statement.

The argument is that matrilineal descent is probably universal and that the opposite form can often be traced in its origin and may be assumed to have arisen in places where it cannot be traced. There is

( 484) a very good bibliography and the book is interesting reading. A thorough treatment of the subject would have been more desirable technically but certainly not so readable.



No notes

Valid HTML 4.01 Strict Valid CSS2