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Synopsis

THis book is the outcome of a close study of the language and beliefs of the Malays during a period of residence in the Malay Peninsula that has now reached twenty-two years. Its object is to unravel a complex system of magic in the light of historical and comparative data. By itself this system is a tangle every thread of which scholars working in Europe are led to term Malay, although even the native distinguishes this thread as Indian and that as Muslim. Chapters i.-iv. deal with the Malay's evolution from animist to Muslim; chapters v. and vi. with his animism; chapters vii. and viii. with his shamanism; chapter ix. with rites largely infected with Hindu magic; and chapters x. and xi. with Muslim accretions. Like all writers on this subject I am indebted to the classical works of Tylor, Frazer, and Jevons, and particularly to the articles by specialists on the magic of different races and faith in Hastings' Encyclopaedia of Religion and Ethics. Working far away from an adequate library, I have found this Encyclopaedia of incalculable value.

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