Anthropology of Fiction


Anthropology of Fiction

Reading, or writing a good fiction book can be culturally and politically immersive. Authors like Ursula K. Le Guin have literally created entire civilizations through the written word, and used them to explore many anthropological themes.

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Worlds of fiction 23 Replies

Started by Keith Hart. Last reply by Philip Swift Aug 26, 2010.

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Comment by Gauri on July 19, 2009 at 2:35am
That makes a lot of sense Anne, thank you for your reply :-)
Comment by Anne Gilbert on July 19, 2009 at 2:31am

I don't "exactly" know why Stephen King is popular. Part of it has to do with the fact that by now, he's well-known, a "name brand", so to speak. In some ways, his writing is very good; the way he sets up his stories plays on some pretty primal fears of the unknown in various ways. Not only that, but he does it in settings that are often otherwise familair to a lot of readers, at least in literature -- an "ordinary" small town of the type he grew up in. Perhaps, psychologically or sociologically, this is a fantasy way of dealing with the "underbelly" that exists in all social situations and groups.
Anne G
Comment by Gauri on July 18, 2009 at 8:40pm
Another question, has anyone tried analyzing why writings of Stephen King are so popular?
Comment by Gauri on July 18, 2009 at 8:38pm
Quick question: I just joined this networking site and I was wondering under which sub-field the anthropology of fiction would be categorized? Also are there any Universities in the United States of America that offer courses for Anthropology of Fiction..
Comment by Anne Gilbert on July 4, 2009 at 12:05am
Hi. I just joined this group. I'm a writer with a WIP that has turned "epic", though I think it probably owes more to Star Trek than to Le Guin, though I really like the way she writes, no,t just about individuals, but individuals as part of societies. I shall probably do a lot of lurking, though, before I make any comments,if I do.
Anne G
Comment by Jeremy Johnson on June 26, 2009 at 10:12pm
Just finished reading The Telling! It was a wonderful book. I'll have to look at the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis again(it's been a while).
Comment by Jeremy Johnson on June 23, 2009 at 6:41pm
has anyone read "To open the sky" by Robert Silverberg? if so, how'd you like it, and was the dynamic between religion/technology and people interesting?
Comment by Jeremy Johnson on June 21, 2009 at 9:36pm
hey martin, i liked robinson too. i've only begun to read "Blue Mars," but it's fascinating.
Comment by Aris Anagnostopoulos on June 19, 2009 at 11:23am
Hi all, just a quickie to mention the attempts made by several anthropologists to give their ethnographic experience in the form of fiction. I am thinking here of Katy Gardner's Songs at the River's Edge, but also Oscar Lewis's Children of Sanchez and a Death in the Sanchez Family. These I think are representative of two broad strands in this respect: one that gives some sort of fictional parable with the anthropologist as narrator, and another which montages narratives collected by the anthropologist into a story, therefore reproducing 'local voice'. I am not sure which I like best, I think that the former 'school' is much too self-indulgent for my taste, and, in any case, it might be good ethnography but not good literature!

@Adam Wiese: Le Guin was the daughter of the Kroebers, famous american anthropologists. I think her father founded the anthropology department at California Berkeley. So she goes a long way as far as anthropology is concerned. I agree with you, she is definitely worth reading!
Comment by NIKOS GOUSGOUNIS on June 17, 2009 at 7:19pm
of course there are some French ethnographers like Michel ;Leiris and Alfred Metraux who were alsoliterate, Georges Bataille too who was in the groupof Marcel Mauss , Segalen an eminent ethnologist of Pacific Ocean and last but not least Levi Strauss who's TRISTES TROPIQUES is both an excellent ethnographical narrative and also a literate work. There is a series of more than 80 books in France called TERRE HUMAINE where eminent ethnographers write as literate travel authors.

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