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Walter Benjamin's Grave Paperback – 15 Aug 2006


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"From Walter Benjamin's grave on the costal border between France and Spain and the serpentine canals of Venice to the rain forests of Colombia, beaches of his native Australia and streets of New York, Michael Taussig transports the reader into new worlds where the strange draws near but never becomes familiar. A master storyteller with an ear for nuance, Taussig finds in the tales of lives that are usually overlooked important lessons for our era in which reason seems to have lost its way and violence threatens to spin out of control. This timely book is cultural analysis and, more important, social criticism at its best."--Mark C. Taylor, author of "Confidence Games" -- Mark C. Taylor (04/03/2006)

"With "Walter Benjamin's Grave," Michael Taussig seeks out phenomena that defy anthropology's explanatory paradigms--a pact with the devil, yage-inspired visions, and ritual body mutilation. He entangles himself in the beliefs and shams of shamans, and those of the anthropologists who studied them. Taussig's 'storytelling as a form of analysis' streams with vibrant and provocative insights, and written out here in a captivating prose that mirrors the color and music of events. 'I'm off to the Pacific Coast, ' Taussig tells us, or to the Australian beaches, or New York City's courts, and brings readers along with him. The force and joy of his rapt curiosity and luminous intelligence is intoxicating."--Alphonso Lingis, author of "Body Transformations"


"With Walter Benjamin's Grave, Michael Taussig seeks out phenomena that defy anthropology's explanatory paradigms-a pact with the devil, yage-inspired visions, and ritual body mutilation. He entangles himself in the beliefs and shams of shamans, and those of the anthropologists who studied them. Taussig's storytelling as a form of analysis' streams with vibrant and provocative insights, and written out here in a captivating prose that mirrors the color and music of events. I'm off to the Pacific Coast, ' Taussig tells us, or to the Australian beaches, or New York City's courts, and brings readers along with him. The force and joy of his rapt curiosity and luminous intelligence is intoxicating."--Alphonso Lingis, author of Body Transformations

From Walter Benjamins grave on the coastal border between France and Spain and the serpentine canals of Venice to the rain forests of Colombia, beaches of his native Australia and streets of New York, Michael Taussig transports the reader into new worlds where the strange draws near but never becomes familiar. A master storyteller with an ear for nuance, Taussig finds in the tales of lives that are usually overlooked important lessons for our era in which reason seems to have lost its way and violence threatens to spin out of control. This timely book is cultural analysis and, more important, social criticism at its best.--Mark C. Taylor, author of Confidence Games -- Mark C. Taylor (04/03/2006)

"Taussig''s particular critique is informed by decades of trying to follow the tension between our ways of imagining the world and the world''s ways, so imaginged, of presenting itself to us, and by his relentless awareness of the fragility of interpertation."--David Garrison "South Atlantic Review "

"Taussig's particular critique is informed by decades of trying to follow the tension between our ways of imagining the world and the world's ways, so imaginged, of presenting itself to us, and by his relentless awareness of the fragility of interpertation."--David Garrison "South Atlantic Review "

"From Walter Benjamin's grave on the coastal border between France and Spain and the serpentine canals of Venice to the rain forests of Colombia, beaches of his native Australia and streets of New York, Michael Taussig transports the reader into new worlds where the strange draws near but never becomes familiar. A master storyteller with an ear for nuance, Taussig finds in the tales of lives that are usually overlooked important lessons for our era in which reason seems to have lost its way and violence threatens to spin out of control. This timely book is cultural analysis and, more important, social criticism at its best."--Mark C. Taylor, author of "Confidence Games"


"With "Walter Benjamin's Grave, " Michael Taussig seeks out phenomena that defy anthropology's explanatory paradigms--a pact with the devil, yage-inspired visions, and ritual body mutilation. He entangles himself in the beliefs and shams of shamans, and those of the anthropologists who studied them. Taussig's 'storytelling as a form of analysis' streams with vibrant and provocative insights, and written out here in a captivating prose that mirrors the color and music of events. 'I'm off to the Pacific Coast, ' Taussig tells us, or to the Australian beaches, or New York City's courts, and brings readers along with him. The force and joy of his rapt curiosity and luminous intelligence is intoxicating."--Alphonso Lingis, author of "Body Transformations"


From Walter Benjamin s grave on the coastal border between France and Spain and the serpentine canals of Venice to the rain forests of Colombia, beaches of his native Australia and streets of New York, Michael Taussig transports the reader into new worlds where the strange draws near but never becomes familiar. A master storyteller with an ear for nuance, Taussig finds in the tales of lives that are usually overlooked important lessons for our era in which reason seems to have lost its way and violence threatens to spin out of control.This timely book is cultural analysis and, more important, social criticism at its best. --Mark C. Taylor, author of "Confidence Games"
"

With "Walter Benjamin s Grave, " Michael Taussig seeks out phenomena that defy anthropology s explanatory paradigms a pact with the devil, yage-inspired visions, and ritual body mutilation. He entangles himself in the beliefs and shams of shamans, and those of the anthropologists who studied them. Taussig s storytelling as a form of analysis streams with vibrant and provocative insights, and written out here in a captivating prose that mirrors the color and music of events. I m off to the Pacific Coast, Taussig tells us, or to the Australian beaches, or New York City s courts, and brings readers along with him. The force and joy of his rapt curiosity and luminous intelligence is intoxicating. --Alphonso Lingis, author of "Body Transformations"
"

"A challenging but enjoyable read thanks to Professor Taussig's virtuoso style of writing. By reviving the idea of a sociology of the sacred . . . he shocks us out of our everyday mindsets and points to exciting possibilities for the critique of modernity. By bringing to our attention Benjamin, Bataille, and Nietzsche, writers who have been neglected by the mainstream of anthropologists, Taussig has done the discipline a great service."--Colin Smith "Anthropological Quarterly ""

From the Inside Flap

In September 1940, Walter Benjamin committed suicide in Port Bou on the Spanish-French border when it appeared that he and his traveling partners would be denied passage into Spain as they attempted to escape the Nazis. In 2002, one of anthropology s and indeed today s most distinctive writers, Michael Taussig, visited Benjamin s grave in Port Bou. The result is Walter Benjamin s Grave, a moving essay about the cemetery, eyewitness accounts of Benjamin s border travails, and the circumstances of his demise. It is the most recent of eight revelatory essays collected in this volume of the same name.

Looking over these essays written over the past decade, writes Taussig, I think what they share is a love of muted and defective storytelling as a form of analysis. Strange love indeed; love of the wound, love of the last gasp. Although thematically these essays run the gamut the monument and graveyard at Port Bou, peasant poetry in Colombia, a pact with the devil, the peculiarities of a shaman s body, transgression, the disappearance of the sea, New York City cops, and the relationship between flowers and violence each shares Taussig s highly individual brand of storytelling, one that gives voice to philosophical and anthropological meanings. Whether he finds himself in Australia, Colombia, Manhattan, or Spain, in the midst of a book or a beach, whether talking to friends or staring at a monument, Taussig makes clear through these marvelous essays that such an approach takes up the invitation that history offers as to its retellings.

Pursuing a medley that is part ethnography, part autobiography, and part cultural criticism refracted through the object that is Walter Benjamin s grave, Taussig, with this collection, provides his own literary memorial to the twentieth century s greatest cultural critic."

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Amazon.com: HASH(0x9369be34) out of 5 stars 2 reviews
5 of 12 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x956fe0cc) out of 5 stars Suma ethnographica 13 July 2008
By B. Freire - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Certainly Michael Taussig is not used to be quoted as an orthodox fellow. Inside the recent reformulations around the practices made by anthropologists this is one of the most courageous and consistent writing applications, with no easy way out of the proposed questions or resolutions. In few words, not a lazy companion for Walter Benjamim. This specific book is a colection of articles wrote around some concepts suggested in some other writings. Nervous system, mimesis, violence and magic appears in more specific findings, in an almost jornalistic attention, but maintaining a scrupulous guidance of a long stabilshed discipline even in hard propositions of defiance.

It is sure that for an actual generation of ethnographers and carefull readers what is read cannot be considered a handbook or some precise and secure method of "writing culture". Even so any trying of ethnografic protocolized assurance trembles when faced with inconstants chalenges of ways of being-there that so many years have been making company for researchers in field-work. It is precisely that inconstancy and the movement of being-in-and-out-of-fase that Taussig's considerations about mimesis and other concepts compannion that makes the reading so fruitfull. To challenge the forms of ethnography it is not the question of shout in vain but to write it well.
0 of 3 people found the following review helpful
By ruben - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition
I found this book banal and lazily written. I hate to give bad reviews but there is nothing here for the Benjamin reader--not a single critical insight. Perhaps it was never intended as a book about Benjamin; simply not what I was looking for.
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