Aspects of the Present (Magill's Literary Annual 1981)
The collaboration of Margaret Mead and Rhoda Metraux was a happy one. Aspects of the Present is the fourth book the late Margaret Mead wrote with her friend, and it is the second derived from their seventeen-year collaboration on essays for Redbook magazine. It is a companion to the earlier collection, A Way of Seeing, and it contains essays on a variety of topics written for Redbook between 1969 and 1979. Both women came up with ideas for columns, which they discussed over lunches; Dr. Metraux did the research and Dr. Mead did the writing. Hence, the personality of the book and its convictions are Margaret Mead’s.
The two women’s friendship began in 1942; Metraux served as Mead’s research assistant when the latter became Executive Secretary to the Committee on Food Habits in the National Research Council, a role Metraux says “demanded great skill in interpreting American culture to Americans.” When the two women began their earliest collaboration, Mead had already accomplished her basic research in six South Seas cultures, work which Metraux writes “provided the foundation for all her later work.” Metraux, thirteen years younger, was “a very new anthropologist,” recently home from her first exploratory field trip to Haiti. These two women shared, as Metraux writes, “a long-term commitment to...
(The entire section is 1483 words.)
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