The Languages of Difference: American Writers and Anthropologists Reconfigure the Primitive, 1878-1940

by Ronald E. Martin


Hardback • 2005 • $80.00
ISBN: 978-0874139044

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Exploring the contentions and revisions involving the idea of the primitive in intellectual America of 1878-1940 and the related notions of race, civilization, and culture, this book focuses on the work of several anthropologists and literary writers whose original insight and skill enabled new and more complex understandings of human difference. Lewis Henry Morgan, Eugene O’Neill, and Zora Neale Hurston are among those focused on for their dedication to discovering and representing specifics in situ, undermining both stock generalization and bias toward race and color. The book is a model of the way ethnographic and fictional writings can be integrated in a single inquiry, offering comparative insight into the uses of language, perspective, interiority, and myth.

About the Author
Ronald E. Martin is emeritus professor at the University of Delaware.