Cloth $115.00 ISBN: 9780226106908 Published April 2014
Paper $35.00 ISBN: 9780226107066 Published April 2014
E-book $7.00 to $30.00 About E-books ISBN: 9780226107233 Published April 2014

Far Afield

French Anthropology between Science and Literature

Vincent Debaene

Vincent Debaene

Translated by Justin Izzo
424 pages | 6 x 9 | © 2014
Cloth $115.00 ISBN: 9780226106908 Published April 2014
Paper $35.00 ISBN: 9780226107066 Published April 2014
E-book $7.00 to $30.00 About E-books ISBN: 9780226107233 Published April 2014
Anthropology has long had a vexed relationship with literature, and nowhere has this been more acutely felt than in France, where most ethnographers, upon returning from the field, write not one book, but two: a scientific monograph and a literary account. In Far Afield—brought to English-language readers here for the first time—Vincent Debaene puzzles out this phenomenon, tracing the contours of anthropology and literature’s mutual fascination and the ground upon which they meet in the works of thinkers from Marcel Mauss and Georges Bataille to Claude Lévi-Strauss and Roland Barthes.
           
The relationship between anthropology and literature in France is one of careful curiosity. Literary writers are wary about anthropologists’ scientific austerity but intrigued by the objects they collect and the issues they raise, while anthropologists claim to be scientists but at the same time are deeply concerned with writing and representational practices. Debaene elucidates the richness that this curiosity fosters and the diverse range of writings it has produced, from Proustian memoirs to proto-surrealist diaries. In the end he offers a fascinating intellectual history, one that is itself located precisely where science and literature meet.
George Marcus, University of California, Irvine.
“This remarkable and ambitious work expertly takes both a long-view and close-ups of the main currents of twentieth-century French anthropological research and thinking. Travel writing, anthropology’s relation to surrealism, the dissolution of science-literature unity in belles-lettres, and structuralism into post-structuralism are all systematically addressed with great insights, great turns of phrase (caught well in translation), and fresh interpretations.”
James Clifford, University of California, Santa Cruz
“Richly detailed and brilliantly argued, Far Afield portrays mid-twentieth century French anthropology as a complex negotiation of ‘literary’ and ‘scientific’ pressures. Debaene offers acute readings of classic and lesser-known works in a sustained engagement with fundamental problems of cross-cultural representation.”
Le Monde, on the French Edition
“A dazzling study. . . . it cannot be confined to literary analysis. If it is read with so much pleasure, it is precisely because as it delves into the heart of these works, far from sinking into sterile dissection, it offers on the contrary the opportunity for an ambitious reflection on the respective histories of anthropology and literature, and on the complex links woven over time between the two disciplines.”
For more information, or to order this book, please visit http://www.press.uchicago.edu
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