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W. H. R. Rivers is an influential early British anthropologist as well as a unique figure in intellectual history, contributing innovative new ideas to both anthropology's study of culture as well as psychiatry (notably the concept of neurasthenia, or “shell shock” as it was known, based on his studies of wounded veterans returning from World War I).
Here's a short film about Rivers: W. H. Rivers: We are all related.
Here's a funny poem written about anthropology and kinship by someone who knew Rivers:
The Doctor took his book in hand
His pen was in his finger
His foot was on a foreign strand –
But there I need not linger.
“Now how,” said he, “if I may ask
About your cousin's mother
Would she attempt the simple task
Of speaking of your brother?
Ah yes, just so, but if she were
Your mother's uncle's sister
How would your cousin's sister's aunt
Address her when she kissed her?
Yes that's a point I meant to add
Your nephew's cousin's father
If he an uncle's sister had
(And neither of the two were mad)
Would he respect her rather?
But if your father's cousin's niece
(His brother's cousin's mother)
Were married to your father's son
Would he be called your brother?
Indeed, now this if it be so
Is very interesting
And really should not be I think
The subject of your jesting.
For if your father's mother's son
Were nephew to your mother
I really cannot understand
Why she should call him 'brother.'”
Alas, Alas, for just before
The doctor's mind could grip her
A shout of laughter issued from
The Cabin of the Skipper.
(Anonymous, Haddon Papers, Envelope 12051)