Academy,  2 (1870–71), 11–12.

[Review of Pre-Historic Times and The Origin of Civilization, by John Lubbock, and Researches into the Early History of Mankind, by Edward B Tylor]  [1/2]

George Rolleston


Review, Serial

Publications reviewed:

Lubbock 1869 Lubbock 1870 Tylor 1870


Anthropology, Human Species, Evolution, Progress, Darwinism, Superstition, Class

    Noting that 'the material points of fact and of inference' on which John Lubbock and Edward B Tylor differ 'are of but infinitesimal moment', Rolleston examines their equally resolute opposition to the 'doctrines which Mr. Tylor has styled "degenerationist"'. Both of them, he argues, 'alike regard civilization as the result of a long series of slowly accumulating improvements', and, as such, there is a 'curious correspondence [...] which Sir John Lubbock certainly and Mr. Tylor probably will be slow to repudiate [...] between their speculations and the lines of argument which Mr. Darwin has used in his Origin of Species'. (11) Although both 'authors recognize, and indeed dwell upon the facts of the retention still amongst us of customs which can only be explained as being rudiments and reminiscences of the rites and practices of savagery', Rolleston complains that 'neither of them has [...] drawn sufficient attention to the fact [...] that these rudimentary indications are by no means to be sought or found in one stratum or level of society alone'. In fact, he goes on, 'in those numerically small spheres of society which are largely endowed with this world's goods, modes of thought, and even actual practices, which can be legitimately affiliated to those of savagery, may be proportionately as rife as they are in the secluded and pauperized villages of agricultural and mountainous districts'. (12)

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