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J., E. (1929). The Mothers, Vols. II and III. By Robert Briffault. (George Allen & Unwin, Ltd., 1927. Pp. 789 and 841. Price 25 s. each.). Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 10:483-485.

(1929). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 10:483-485

The Mothers, Vols. II and III. By Robert Briffault. (George Allen & Unwin, Ltd., 1927. Pp. 789 and 841. Price 25 s. each.)

Review by:
E. J.

A short notice of the first volume of this mighty work appeared in the JOURNAL, Vol. VIII, p. 439. Now, with the full work before us, it is possible to form some estimate of its significance. In doing so, it is essential to distinguish between the contents of the work and the theories or tendencies it contains. For the first of these we can have nothing but praise. The work is a stupendous collection of data which will rival The Golden Bough as a source book for all investigators concerned with the manifold aspects of sexual life. The data range over the widest themes, from the magic origin of queens, the evolution of modesty and chastity, and the relations between witches and priestesses to the problems of totemism and exogamy and the varying forms of the marriage institution. The work contains well over a million words; there are 2, 090 pages of text, of which about a third is taken up by footnotes, the whole buttressed by 200 pages of bibliography and more than 100 pages of index. The English is excellent and very attractive.

The tendency or theory of the book is quite another matter, as readers of this JOURNAL will at once understand when we say that the author is preoccupied with the problems of sex itself. It is probable that no topic of thought in the whole world is so charged with subjectivism as those concerned with the differences between and the comparisons of the two sexes. Even the strenuous efforts made by analysts themselves, with the aid of that powerful dissolver of subjectivitypsycho-analysis—have so far been only partly successful in coping with this truly difficult task.

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