Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 17, 1906.djvu/248

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234 Correspondence.

Agreeably to these principles, the Folklore Congress of 1891 was organized in three sections, Folktales, Mythology (including Myth, Ritual, and Magic), Institutions and Customs. (A per- usal of its published Transactions would answer many of Mr. Rose's questions.)

Taking folklore then to be, briefly, the non-material side of Anthropology, the objects for which it is studied will depend on the individual bent of the student. It may be studied for the sake of the evidence it affords of the former savage or barbarous condition of races now civilized. This, the starting-point in the History of Culture, is the first and main point proved by the study of folklore, and practically, by it alone. Or the worker may use folklore to elucidate sociological problems, or questions of Ethnology. The precise amount of assistance which folklore can give to the study of ethnology — how far, that is, folklore may be accepted as evidence of race, is a point which needs further investigation, and on which Mr. Rose and his colleagues could doubtless supply valuable evidence. The historian of Culture may study folklore as a part of the history of Litera- ture, tracing King Lear and Faust back to their sources in mythology and magic : or for the sake of the history of Medicine, tracing the stages by which scientific observation has gradually disentangled itself from magic and empiricism ; or again, for the history of the development of Religion and Philosophy, the sides on which it has perhaps attracted the greatest attention during the last few years. And that it is simply impossible to investi- gate the early history of Social or Legal Institutions without the assistance of folklore, seems to me a self-evident proposition.

I can hardly agree with Mr. Rose that this side of the subject has been neglected in Folk-lore of late years. No subjects surely have occupied more space in recent volumes than those of Taboo, Totemism, Exogamy, and so forth ; but if Mr. Rose thinks that institutions have not due prominence in our pages, it is for him and his fellow-workers to redress the balance by their contributions. From no point of view can the study of folklore be of more importance than from that of the ruler, the legislator, or the social reformer. Mr. Rose doubtless recollects — or if not he will thank me for recalling to him — the weighty