2011 Reprint of 1954 American Edition. Full facsimile of the original edition, not 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, economic, juridical, aesthetic, religious, mythological and social phenomena. A classic work.