Gone Primitive: Savage Intellects, Modern Lives

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9780226808314: Gone Primitive: Savage Intellects, Modern Lives
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In this acclaimed book, Torgovnick explores the obsessions,
fears, and longings that have produced Western views of the
primitive. Crossing an extraordinary range of fields
(anthropology, psychology, literature, art, and popular
culture), Gone Primitive will engage not just
specialists but anyone who has ever worn Native American
jewelry, thrilled to Indiana Jones, or considered buying an
African mask.

"A superb book; and—in a way that goes beyond what
being good as a book usually implies—it is a kind of gift to
its own culture, a guide to the perplexed. It is lucid,
usually fair, laced with a certain feminist mockery and
animated by some surprising sympathies."—Arthur C. Danto,
New York Times Book Review

"An impassioned exploration of the deep waters beneath Western primitivism. . . . Torgovnick's readings are deliberately, rewardingly provocative."—Scott L. Malcomson, Voice Literary Supplement

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From the Back Cover:

In this acclaimed book, Marianna Torgovnick explores the obsessions, fears, and longings that have produced Western views of the primitive. Crossing an extraordinary range of fields (anthropology, psychology, literature, art, and popular culture), 'Gone Primitive' will engage not just specialists but anyone who has ever worn Native American jewelry, thrilled to Indiana Jones, or considered buying an African mask.

From Library Journal:

In this interesting and unique study, the author looks at the West's appropriation of the images, styles, and ideas of primitive cultures for its own--and, she asserts, miscalculated--benefit. Examining the West's concept of the primitive as understood through such sources as Edgar Rice Burroughs's Tarzan , the writings of Conrad and Lawrence, the theoretical work of Freud and Levi-Strauss, and the studies of a number of ethnographers/anthropologists, including Margaret Mead, she discovers an inaccurate, romanticized, often racist and sexist, and ultimately damaging series of ideas that have served to inform the West's concept of the primitive and to form the basis of its fascination. Although most of the author's suggestions for improving what she claims to be an unacceptable situation are so general and wide-ranging that they are practically cliches, the book provides a refreshing look at a topic that has not been previously examined in light of recent Western trends in art and culture.
- Jessica Grim, Univ. of California Lib., Berkeley
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Torgovnick, Marianna
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