Princeton University Press, (1967). Bollingen Series LXXXIV. 8vo. 9-1/4" x 6-1/4". Brown cloth, spine stamped in gold. 309 pp. including indices and notes. Book is in fine condition. / Dust jacket very good to fine. Item #783
Translated from the German by Ralph Manheim, with a preface by George Boas and an Introduction by Joseph Campbell.
With this volume a selection of the work of the influential Swiss social philosopher Johann Jakob Bachofen (1815-1887) is for the first time available in English. Bachofen's name is most often associated with the theory of matriarchy, or "mother right," as a phase of human history, though this was but one aspect of his contribution to social thought. Beginning as a jurist and an historian of Roman law, Bachofen sought to discover the universal law of history, "the one law that governs all things." His concern was the inner life of human beings, and his sources were the rich symbolism of the Mediterranean tombs and the familiar legends of classical antiquity. Bachofen was among the first to realize that while the "plot" of these tales could be discarded as inconsequential, "the myth can provide as definite and secure results as any other source of historical knowledge."