2011 Reprint of 1954 American Edition. Full facsimile of the original edition, t reproduced with Optical Recognition Software. This is perhaps the first systematic study of the custom, widespread in primitive societies from ancient Rome to present-day Melanesia, of exchanging gifts. The gift is conceived as a transaction forming part of all human, personal relationships between individuals and groups. These gift exchanges are at the same time moral, ecomic, juridical, aesthetic, religious, mythological and social phemena. A classic work.