Professor Colin De’Ath and Mary R. Mennis were both doing research in the Madang area in the 1970s. While Professor Colin was working on the Gogol area researching the effects of the Trans-Gogol Timber Project on the local villagers, Mary Mennis was doing research into the culture of the coastal Madang people and changes that had occurred over the years. At that time, they collaborated and published »Merging Men and Nature: Myths of Melanesia«. The original version was published in Oral History in 1981, and recently it was decided to republish these myths to make them available to a wider readership. In this latest edition, a few modifications have been made to make the stories clearer. Also some myths and oral traditions have been added.
The myths presented in this book are from Madang, Manus Island, the Sepik area, the Highlands, New Britain and the Port Moresby area of Papua New Guinea as well as two from Irian Jaya. They are grouped under categories like Origin of Pottery, Two Brother Myths; Myths about mountains and Origin Myths for ease of comparison.
About the Series
The aim is to provide a conduit for the publication of studies on the Island of New Guinea, with its two established political divisions, but will also include other associated patterns of islands.
It will enable contributions from new knowledge workers—with their dissertations—and from established scholars. As there are numerous scholars who would like better coverage of the areas in which they have explored—as a tribute to the people they have worked with—as well as local scholars who understand the importance of their unique areas. It is felt that the approaches being trialed in the visual anthropology part of the series as area studies will bring a wider attention to the remarkable nature of the island.
The first volumes will be on modes of communication: oral history and folklore, and the emergence of a local literature. While the representation of all disciplines is welcome, comparative and whole island studies would be of great interest as well. For this, collaborative works or edited volumes may be needed.
It will allow for academic publications of a more preliminary kind—rather than exhaustive monographs, which are becoming more and more impossible to produce.
Where is the knowledge we have lost?