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The Anthropology of Literature in France

Birth and Becoming of a New Field of Studies

Laurent Sebastian Fournier and Jean-Marie Privat

In this article we present the ongoing theoretical discussions concerning the relations between anthropology and literature in France. We recall the historical relationship of a part of French anthropology and the world of literature. We then try to show how the anthropology of literature began by using the model of the anthropology of art, mainly concentrating on literary works as individual creations specific to the style or the cosmology of a given writer. We explore a new perspective on the analysis of the social and symbolic meanings of literary worlds, putting the emphasis on what is called ‘ethnocriticism’ in France. In order to understand better the influence of literature and literary motives on contemporary cultural practices, and to grasp the relation of literary works with the outside world and with everyday life, we propose to build up a comparative approach of literary works and rituals. Through different novels or other literary works, we address possible developments of contemporary anthropologies of literature in France.

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Elina Hytönen-Ng

Anthropology and anthropological literature have had an irreversible effect on the practice of contemporary shamanism. In this small-scale study, I look at the complex ways the literature has been recorded, initiated interest, revived and verified the shamanic practices. Over the years, anthropologists have also caused distortions in revived practices as they have left some things unrecorded. On the basis of written responses and interviews from shamanic practitioners and active drumming-group members, I demonstrate that the argument of neo-shamanism as the only form of shamanism still alive is not completely true. Attention is drawn also to the claim about the cycle of learning in contemporary shamanism. My argument is that the main part of learning in the deeper levels of shamanic practices still happens in face-to-face situations.

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Andrew Inkpin

It is widely held that philosophy and literature are closely connected in Sartre, a view naturally suggested by the breadth of his writings and the prevalence of philosophical themes in his literary writing. The precise relation between the two

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Ivan Jablonka

Translator : Nathan Bracher

pervading academia. Generally speaking, it is possible to rethink the cartography of writing. The globe has traditionally been divided between two continents: inventive, entertaining literature, land of liberty and imagination, realm of the “fictional”; the

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Introduction

Writing History and the Social Sciences with Ivan Jablonka

Nathan Bracher

the divide between literature, commonly presumed to be the exclusive domain of pleasure and aesthetics, and the social sciences, supposedly restricted to the most sober, “objective” narrative mode, off-limits to flights of creativity and imagination

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‘… But Is It Literature?’

Graphic Adaptation in Germany in the Context of High and Popular Culture

Juliane Blank

establishing a connection between classic literature and comics as a medium of popular culture, graphic adaptations contribute to overcoming the borders between ‘high and low’. Recent examples even tend to reflect ironically on the persistence of these borders

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Kay Young

Review of Norman Holland, LITERATURE AND THE BRAIN

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Hebrew Literature in the ‘World Republic of Letters’

Translation and Reception, 1918–2018

Yael Halevi-Wise and Madeleine Gottesman

Having recently dusted itself off from a religious domain, Hebrew literature today must rely on translation and international dissemination to reach beyond its five million native speakers. Although Hebrew certainly falls into the category of lesser

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Where Is Southern Literature?

The Practice of Place in a Postsouthern Age

Scott Romine

Of the several stock answers to the perennial question ‘What is southern literature?’, the importance of ‘place’ (or the presence of ‘sense of place’) surely ranks near the top of the list. Immediately we are faced with a paradox: How can any regional literature be distinguished on so ambiguous a basis? Places are, after all, found everywhere and in all literatures, and it is doubtful that even a rigorous poetics could reliably identify a ‘sense of place’ that is distinctively southern. To complicate matters, ‘sense of place’ often seems to imply being located not merely in a distinctive region, but in a distinctive way; the term connotes something that is not just geographically different (a southern variation of a thing that exists elsewhere), but qualitatively different (a thing distinctive to the South). ‘Sense of place’, then, serves as both a description (southern literature has it) and a distinction (southern literature has more of it than other literatures). For my purposes here, it precisely the nebulous content of ‘place’ that makes it so useful as a point of entry into examining how critics have defined and practised southern literature; because of place’s conceptual instability, what stability it does possess can be ascribed almost exclusively to how it has been used. Arguably, the location of ‘place’ is not so much in the South or in southern literature as in the critical discourse about those things.

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Peter Katz

This special issue of Critical Survey explores the reciprocal relationships between Victorian literature and Victorian science – both the representation of science in literature, and the appearance of the literary within scientific discourse. Recent trends in historicism inspire this collection to contextualise Victorian literature and culture through Victorian understandings of bodies. These critics rightfully begin from the assumption that only once we understand Victorian bodies as Victorians might have understood them can we theorise historical bodies as sites integral to the legitimisation of flows of cultural power: capitalism, imperialism, heteronormativity, and beyond.