To Cherish the Life of the World: The Selected Letters of Margaret Mead

To Cherish the Life of the World: The Selected Letters of Margaret Mead

by Margaret Caffrey, Patricia Francis
     
 

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This first collection of Margaret Mead's personal correspondence creates a vivid and intimate portrait of an American icon—with a foreword by Mead's daughter, Mary Catherine BatesonSee more details below

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This first collection of Margaret Mead's personal correspondence creates a vivid and intimate portrait of an American icon—with a foreword by Mead's daughter, Mary Catherine Bateson

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
I find I can't get up much enthusiasm for rules," cultural anthropologist Margaret Mead wrote in 1933, in a letter addressed to her female lover, Ruth Benedict, about the tension between her then husband, Reo Fortune, and future husband, Gregory Bateson. A free but highly disciplined spirit dedicated to discovering new cultures and practicing the tenets of open love, Mead was also a prolific writer, whose collected letters have been combined into one volume by Caffrey and Francis, respectively an associate professor at the University of Memphis and curator of a Mead exhibit at the Library of Congress. Assembled with the aid of Mary Catherine Bateson, Mead's only daughter, the cultural anthropologist's vivid dispatches have been categorized by recipient. Addressees include her Philadelphia family, all three of her husbands and several lovers, both male and female, on topics ranging from changing colleges to quelling rumors about her numerous affairs. While Mead's personal relationships tend to be the focus, these connections (particularly with her second and third husbands) were closely intertwined with her professional life. But there is little doubt as to Mead's true obsession: as the writer herself noted to Benedict in 1928, "I think the work is so much more important than any personal issue." Photos. (July) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
Caffrey (history, Univ. of Memphis; Ruth Benedict: Stranger in This Land) and Francis, curator of an exhibition on Mead at the Library of Congress, rifled through what must have been a great pile of material to make this selection of anthropologist and writer Margaret Mead's personal correspondence, dating from 1919 to 1978. Following a foreword by Mead's daughter, Mary Catherine Bateson, the letters are arranged chronologically within such categories as "Family," "Husbands," "Lovers," "Friends," "Colleagues," and "Kith and Kin," which is confusing, given that many people in Mead's life played two or three of those roles over time. Most of the letters deal with personal relationships (Mead's letters from Samoa to her advisor, Franz Boas, have been published elsewhere). On its own, this collection does not have enough continuity or context to paint a complete portrait of Mead, but it does illuminate some of her intimacies and habits. Recommended for academic libraries and larger public libraries; with a 16-page black-and-white insert. Lisa Klopfer, Eastern Michigan Univ. Lib., Ypsilanti Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780465008155
Publisher:
Basic Books
Publication date:
07/28/2006
Pages:
472
Product dimensions:
6.10(w) x 9.20(h) x 1.60(d)

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