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Savage Civilisation.

Published: London: Victor Gollancz Ltd, 1937

Stock code: 101487

Price: £125

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This item is on show at 100 Fulham Road (map)

First edition, second impression (four months after the first). The publisher’s archive copy with their stamp to jacket front panel. Savage Civilisation was the future founder of Mass-Observation’s first best-seller, in which he defended the way of life of the cannibals of the New Hebrides and their rights to their own land. “Harrisson’s fourth Oxford expedition (1933–5) was to the New Hebrides. When the rest of the Oxford party left Santo Island for home in 1934, Harrisson got to Malekula, where cannibalism was still widespread. Unarmed, barefoot, with no money, he made friends with the cannibals and took censuses that helped to disprove the then popular thesis that the islanders were dying out from a morbid despair caused by culture shock; he found instead that their numbers were increasing. Harrisson’s focus had shifted from birds to people” (ODNB).

Octavo. Original blue cloth, spine lettered in gilt. With the dust jacket and Book Society Recommendation wraparound band. Frontispiece and 31 plates, 9 maps and plans, most full-page, numerous line-drawn illustrations in the text. Minor foxing to edges; an excellent copy in the jacket with some nicks and shallow chips to extremities.

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