Home » Verging on Extra-Vagance: Anthropology, History, Religion, Literature, Arts . . . Showbiz by James A. Boon
Verging on Extra-Vagance: Anthropology, History, Religion, Literature, Arts . . . Showbiz James A. Boon

Verging on Extra-Vagance: Anthropology, History, Religion, Literature, Arts . . . Showbiz

James A. Boon

Published March 29th 1999
ISBN : 9780691016320
Hardcover
368 pages
Enter the sum

 About the Book 

In this book, James Boon ranges through history and around the globe in a series of provocative reflections on the limitations, attractions, and ambiguities of cultural interpretation. The book reflects the unusual keyword of its title,MoreIn this book, James Boon ranges through history and around the globe in a series of provocative reflections on the limitations, attractions, and ambiguities of cultural interpretation. The book reflects the unusual keyword of its title, extra-vagance, a term Thoreau used to refer to thought that skirts traditional boundaries. Boon follows Thoreaus lead by broaching subjects as diverse as Balinese ritual, Montaigne, Chaucer, Tarzan, Perry Mason, opera, and the ideas of Jacques Derrida, Ruth Benedict, Kenneth Burke, and Mary Douglas. He makes creative and often playful leaps among eclectic texts and rituals that do not hold single, fixed meanings, but numerous, changing, and exceedingly specific ones.Boon opens by exploring links between ritual and reading, focusing on commentaries about the seclusion of menstruating women in Native American culture, trance dances in Bali, and circumcision (or lack of it) in contrasting religions. He considers the ironies of first-person ethnography by telling stories from his own fieldwork, reflecting on ethnological museums, and making seriocomic connections between Mark Twain and Marcel Mauss. In expansive discussions that touch on Manhattan and Sri Lanka, the Louvre and the World of Coca-Cola museum, willfully obscure academic theory and shamelessly commercial show business, Boon underlines the inadequacies of simple ideologies and pat generalizations. The book is a profound and eloquent exploration of cultural comparison by one of Americas most original and innovative anthropologists.