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A Diary in the Strict Sense of the Term by…

A Diary in the Strict Sense of the Term

by Bronislaw Malinowski

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651183,505 (3.72)1
  1. 10
    The Diary of Geza Csath by Géza Csáth (meggyweg)
    meggyweg: Although these men were very far apart geographically and held different careers, they were writing during the same time period and both were fairly obsessed with their health and their sexual lives.

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Although Bronislaw Malinowski was a famous anthropologist, don't expect to find out anything about anthropology from his diary. He hardly ever wrote about his work, focusing instead on his loves and lusts, books he read, and obsessing over his health. (He was a hypochondriac who regularly dosed himself with arsenic, the turn-of-the-century aspirin.) I think this book better teaches the reader about the opinions and way of thinking of the European man during that time.

Frankly, I couldn't stand Malinowski. He was pretentious and bigoted and half the time I wanted to slap him. As an anthropologist you would expect he would be less prejudiced than the average person -- and perhaps, scarily, he was. But he consistently referred to his research subjects as "brutes" and "savages" and by a certain unprintable racial slur. He found their women attractive and occasionally "pawed" them, but actually sleeping with them was out of the question -- he seemed to equate the idea with bestiality. He had a fiancee back in Poland, but that didn't stop him from lusting after every white woman he met, and sometimes acting on it.

I wasn't sure what to expect from this book, but I didn't get much out of it other than a bad taste in my mouth. However, I think it is a valuable historical document, and people studying the period would find it useful. ( )
  meggyweg | Jul 16, 2009 |
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