Biography & Memoir Books:

The Story of a Marriage - Vol 1

The letters of Bronislaw Malinowski and Elsie Masson. Vol I 1916-20


Paperback / softback

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The Story of a Marriage - Vol 1
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Much has been written about the work of Bronislaw Malinowski but little is available about his personal life and thoughts. These letters, available for the first time, were written by him and Elsie Masson from 1916 to her death in 1935. They chronoicle their meeting and subsequent extraordinary marriage in a highly accessible and revealing way, also telling the story of his remarkable, courageous and largely unknown wife and personalise Malinowski, not just as a teacher and scientist, but as a husband, father and friend. There is a tremendous variety in the correspondence. The Malinowskis lived in half a dozen countries and visited many more and their gypsy lifestyle, his brilliant successes in his professional life, the tragedy of her illness, as well as their continuing love story are all recorded. The letters bring in luminaries such as Sir James Frazer, and Malinowski's students, many of whom went on to become famous anthropologists themselves. There are also fascinating glimpses of attitudes and day-to-day life in the twenties and thirties, including the rise of Nazism and Fascism. Volume I presents the letters written between 1916 and the beginning of 1920 in Australia and New Guinea. They start with a retrospective diary letter from Elsie Masson to Bronislaw Malinowski and detail their first meeting and eventual falling in love. Malinowski describes his third, and final, time of fieldwork in New Guinea, in the Trobriand Islands, 1917-1918. He then returns to Australia where, despite opposition from Elsie's parents, they marry and then spend a year there. At this time they both succumb to the Spanish 'flu epidemic but, having recovered, then move to England.
Release date NZ
February 9th, 1995
Edited by Helena Wayne
Country of Publication
United Kingdom
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