Antiquarian Auctions

SA Auction #108 begins on 06 Jul 2023

US Auction #16 begins on 02 Aug 2023

Frazer, Sir James George (arranged and edited by Robert Angus Downie)

The Native Races of Africa and Madagascar

Published: Percy Lund Humphries, London, 1938

Edition: First

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Frazer was 36 when he wrote "The Golden Bough" (variously referred to as "A Study in Comparative Religion" or "A Study in Magic and Religion"), which was said have influenced the work of writers as different as Jung, the Swiss philosopher; T S Eliot, the English/American poet; and James Joyce, the Irish writer.

However, it was not until 47 years later, when he was 83, that Frazer decided to publish selections from his forty or so thick quarto notebooks on the anthropological writings of others. A year later, in 1938, "The Native Races of Africa and Madagascar" was published as the first of the series - "Anthologia Anthropologica".

The result was "A Copious Selection of Passages for the Study of Social Anthropology from the Manuscript Notebooks of [J G Frazer] Arranged and Edited from the MSS by Robert Angus Downie".

In his own introduction, Downie describes how he went about his work (see also one of the images), sorting, arranging and copying the extracts according to continent (Africa first), and then region and race. Frazer lived to see the full series published - after Africa, Australia, followed by Asia and Europe, and, finally, America, with the last three all published 1939 - all under Downie's editorship and in a uniform edition from the same publisher. [A reasonable set of the four first edition volumes is quoted on the internet at about $750.]

The current book reproduces 234 extracts, some very long and some much shorter, and mainly, but not only, in English.

The book is substantial: xiv + 571 pp of double-column text and index + frontispiece + one of Frazer's manuscript pages in facsimile + seven maps showing the languages, races and tribes of Africa and Madagascar.

The book is also comprehensive: it deals with Bushmen, Hottentots and a dozen other races in Southern Africa, and almost another one hundred races in the rest of the continent.

Full references to the sources of the extracts are given at the end of each entry.

The dustjacket of our copy (few of the available copies have dustjackets, in any condition) has been repaired and is now Good. The original turquoise cloth-boards, gilt to the spine, are marred only by two small nicks at the head of the spine and an early sign of shelf-wear at the foot of the spine. The plain endpapers are Fine: there is a small green sticker of a Pretoria bookseller on the front paste-down and an owner's signature and date on the front free endpaper.(*) The text and illustrations are all present, unmarked and unfoxed or otherwise discoloured. The page edges are uniformly sunned. In other words, the overall description "Very Good" is conservative.

(*)The first owner, and the only one with his name in the book, was "D Ziervogel, UP, 28-8-1940". Ziervogel bought the book when he was an M A student at the University of Pretoria. He went on to become one of South Africa's leading writers on anthropology.


  • Jacket Condition: Good (repaired)
  • Binding Condition: Very Good
  • Overall Condition: Very Good
  • Size: 375 x 220 x 60; weight 1.7 kg
  • Sold By: Fontein Books
  • Contact Person: Richard Proctor-Sims
  • Country: South Africa
  • Email: [email protected]
  • Telephone: 051 773 0050/048 079 546 4032
  • Preferred Payment Methods: Eft (South Africa), SWIFT (rest of world), or $ checks for US or Australian buyers
  • Trade Associations: AA Approved

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