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It seems appropriate at the season of graduation, of degrees earned and degrees honorary, to call attention to the remarkable work of Arnold van Gennep even though it was published originally more than 50 years ago and has not been available in translation until recently. Antropologists, sociologists, and others have long been aware of the contribution that van Gennep made with fresh insights into the significance of various stages through which we all evolve, and the ceremonies and symbolic meanings of some of the major transitions. Perhaps a strictly literal interpretation of van Gennep's title would be ceremonies of transition. Van Gennep was born in Holland in 1873 and died recently in France. For years he was professor of ethnography at the University of Neufchatel, Switzerland, where he was widely known for his work in folklore and prehistory. Van Gennep arrived on the scene when Darwin and Wallace had shaken
Bean WB. The Rites of Passage. Arch Intern Med. 1960;106(6):899–900. doi:10.1001/archinte.1960.03820060151024
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