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Culture, 1922 traces the intellectual and institutional deployment of the culture concept in England and America in the first half of the twentieth century. With primary attention to how models of culture are created, elaborated upon, transformed, resisted, and ignored, Marc Manganaro works across disciplinary lines to embrace literary, literary critical, and anthropological writing. Tracing two traditions of thinking about culture, as elite products and pursuits and as common and shared systems of values, Manganaro argues that these modernist formulations are not mutually exclusive and have indeed intermingled in complex and interesting ways throughout the development of literary studies and anthropology.

Beginning with the important Victorian architects of culture--Matthew Arnold and Edward Tylor--the book follows a number of main figures, schools, and movements up to 1950 such as anthropologist Franz Boas, his disciples Edward Sapir, Ruth Benedict, and Zora Neale Hurston, literary modernists T. S. Eliot and James Joyce, functional anthropologist Bronislaw Malinowski, modernist literary critic I. A. Richards, the New Critics, and Kenneth Burke. The main focus here, however, is upon three works published in 1922, the watershed year of Modernism--Eliot's The Waste Land, Malinowski's Argonauts of the Western Pacific, and Joyce's Ulysses. Manganaro reads these masterworks and the history of their reception as efforts toward defining culture. This is a wide-ranging and ambitious study about an ambiguous and complex concept as it moves within and between disciplines.

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Culture, 1922

Culture, 1922

THE EMERGENCE OF A CONCEPT

Marc Manganaro

PRINCETON UNIVERSITY PRESS

PRINCETON AND OXFORD

Copyright © 2002 By Princeton University Press

Published by Princeton University Press, 41 William Street,

Princeton, New Jersey 08540

In the United Kingdom: Princeton University Press,

3 Market Place, Woodstock, Oxfordshire OX20 1SY

All Rights Reserved

Library of Congress Control Numer: 2002106616

eISBN: 978-1-40082-522-6

British Library Cataloging-in-Publication Data is available.

This Book has been Composed in Times with Trump Mediaeval Display

www.pupress.princeton.edu

Printed in the United States of America

1 3 5 7 9 10 8 6 4 2

For my parents,

Ross and Alice Manganaro

Contents

Acknowledgments

INTRODUCTION Culture, Anthropology, and the Literary Modern

CHAPTER 1 Making Up for Lost Ground: Eliot’s Cultural Geographics

CHAPTER 2 Malinowski: Writing, Culture, Function, Kula

CHAPTER 3 Malinowski, Native Narration, and The Ethnographer’s Magic

CHAPTER 4 Joyce and His Critics: Notes toward the Definition of Culture

CHAPTER 5 Joyce’s Wholes: Culture, Tales, and Tellings

CHAPTER 6 Patterns of Culture: Ruth Benedict and the New Critics

CHAPTER 7 Hurston, Burke, and the New Critics: Narrative, Context, and Magic

AFTERWORD Culture’s Pasts, Presents, and Futures

Notes

Acknowledgments

THIS BOOK HAS BEEN a long time in the making, and its completion was made possible by more people than can be named here. I do want to thank the English department of Rutgers University-New Brunswick for its consistent support, and especially Barry Qualls and Cheryl Wall, who expertly chaired the department in the years during which I worked on this book. I also want to thank colleagues in the department whose advice on this project over the past several years proved invaluable: mainly, Brad Evans, Marjorie Howes, George Levine, John McClure, Richard Miller, Bruce Robbins, and again Cheryl Wall. And to my graduate students I owe gratitude for the insights and generosity they have brought to me both inside and outside of the classroom: Eric Aronoff, Michael Goeller, Anthony Lioi, and Katherine Lynes, to name but a few.

For intellectual support outside of Rutgers, I’d like to extend my thanks to friends and colleagues Jim Boon, Clifford Geertz, Richard Handler, Susan Hegeman, and Michele Richman. I am also grateful to Joanne Allen, whose copy editing of the manuscript I am sure improved it immeasurably, and to Princeton University Press for its support: special thanks of course goes to Mary Murrell for her expertise and patience. And I would like to thank James Joyce Quarterly for its publication (in its Summer/Fall 1998 issue) of Joyce material that appears in chapter 4, and Michael Bell for the part he played in the publication of my essay on Eliot in the volume Myth and the Making of Modernity (Rodopi, 1998).

I would like to express my great thanks to my many siblings—Toni, Ross, Steve, Ann, Joe, and Andrea, and their families—for helping to get me through these past years, and for simply being fun to be around. And so many thanks to my children, Anthony, Thomas, and Rania, for their great great love, their inspiration, their compassion and wit and warmth, and their knowing and trusting that I am always there for them. To my wife Nicole, utterly, for her love, her support, her patience, her knowing me and being with me and her sharing with me all good things. Finally, this book is dedicated to my parents Ross and Alice Manganaro, who this year celebrated fifty years of marriage—for their love, and giving me whatever those things are that got me wherever I am.

Culture, 1922

I n t r o d u c t i o n

CULTURE, ANTHROPOLOGY AND THE LITERARY MODERN

IN THE 1987 VOLUME Critical Terms for Literary Study Stephen Greenblatt opens his entry on culture with the Victorian anthropologist Edward Tylor’s famous founding definition (1871) of the anthropological concept of culture as that complex whole which includes knowledge, belief, art, morals, law, custom, and any other capabilities and habits acquired by man as a member of society. Greenblatt then follows with the question whether culture as a concept is useful to students of literature. The answer, Greenblatt quickly responds, may be that it is not.¹

The problem with culture, Greenblatt continues, is that the term as Tylor uses it is almost impossibly vague and encompassing, and the few things that seem excluded from it are almost immediately reincorporated in the actual use of the word. Culture as a term, Greenblatt asserts, is repeatedly used without meaning much of anything at all; hence the multiple possible meanings for the term are scarcely the backbone of an innovative critical practice (225). Greenblatt follows with the question how we can get the concept of culture to do more work for us and then introduces two opposing terms, constraint and mobility, that will constitute a more specific model for what culture is and how it works and will prove helpful in understanding the relation of literary study to the social processes ambiguously labeled culture.

The purpose of this volume is not to apply Greenblatt’s model, or in fact anyone’s, to come to terms with what culture as concept definitively is or ought to be. Rather, I hope, through selected readings from some seminal architects of the culture concept, to trace the intellectual and institutional development of the concept through the first half of the twentieth century in England and America, and more specifically to interpret the concept as it surfaces in the interrelated fields of anthropology and literary study. Greenblatt’s definition, or redefinition, of the concept is especially appropriate not because it is an especially useful model for culture (though he does generative work with it as he applies it to literary works) but because it effectively rehearses the very rhetorical position that has compelled writers since Tylor, including T. S. Eliot, Clifford Geertz, and Greenblatt himself, to continue to work with the term: that the term culture is too loose and large and needs definition.

Indeed, each of the above mentioned authors attempts to give definition or discipline to the term to make it disciplinarily useful and usable and in fact does so by attempting to cordon off the popular usages of culture and giving the term a privileged because limited professional character.² And, paradoxically, while the battening of the term to a fixed institutional meaning becomes necessary for the legitimacy of the profession—for example, culture as a complex whole of institutions, manners, and mores that can then be discretely studied by the anthropologist—it is precisely the multifariousness of the concept, its capacity for ambiguity, slippage, and transfer, that makes the disciplining of the term not only desirable in the first place but also institutionally productive or disciplinarily rich, as will be witnessed in the ensuing debates in the early twentieth century over the nature and constitution of culture.

It is equally true that culture, defined as elite or common, becomes posited as desirable and even necessary through the very argument that it is in the process of collapse—in one sense the very definition of the concept becomes premised upon its decline. Bruce Robbins, alluding to Eliot and others, rightly points to a professional logic that, in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, legitimated the humanities, a narrative of ‘culture’ dying in a modern wasteland where only a few select misfits still recall and preserve its fast-fading glories.³ Recalling James Clifford’s conception of the allegory of salvage at work in anthropology, wherein the discipline of anthropology perpetuates and expands itself through the claim, what Clifford calls the rhetorical construct, that cultures are becoming extinct and need saving, Robbins notes that the profession is sustained by protest against this repetitious disappearance, which it thus has an interest in sustaining or constructing (173). Robbins then, significantly, ties the profession of anthropology to the humanities, asserting the continuity of anthropology’s professional rationale with the humanist decline narratives and pointing to the logic, shared by the two fields, that links professionals to the disappearance of their objects (173).

No one more definitively linked culture and its professional imperatives to the premise of its collapse than that formative architect of the concept, Matthew Arnold. Indeed, in the very title of his seminal culture work of 1869, culture and its obverse, anarchy, are henceforth inextricably and redolently welded. Gerald Graff makes the astute observation that once culture as concept was articulated by Arnold and those who followed him, it was already necessarily indicating its own absence: Once the rationale of a community arises as a question for self-conscious reflection and debate, the unreflective commonality that Arnold desired has been lost. A really common culture would simply be lived, with no need for its presuppositions, foundations, and beliefs to become an issue for discussion.⁴ In this respect, the very pronouncement of culture is only possible through the articulation of anarchy.

One significant problem with Greenblatt’s treatment is the absence of reference to Arnold. Culture as famously defined by Arnold in Culture and Anarchythe best which has been thought and said in the world—has conventionally been interpreted as the formative aesthetic and humanist definition of the term, as distinguished from Tylor’s founding anthropological definition, and it has often been noted that Arnold’s statement in Culture and Anarchy preceded Tylor’s by a mere two years.

Throughout the twentieth century Arnold’s humanistic definition generally was viewed, especially though not exclusively by anthropologists, as an elite definition, in the sense that Culture (with a capital C) resides in or can be obtained through superior works of intellect and artistry. Culture as such, according to Arnold, is, or ought to be, the study and pursuit of perfection (8), whereas the anthropological employment of the term came importantly to mean not that which is limited to the best but that which embodies and represents the complex whole of a society. Tylor’s definition galvanized the creation of a discipline—anthropology—that came to assume, by the mid-twentieth century, that a culture was, ipso facto, whole, integral, working, functional (in the Malinowskian sense), and made up of a complex array of parts or features that in fact cohere into a whole.

And yet there is a difference between how a discipline chooses to narrate its history and how that discipline actually came to be shaped, a difference between the materials the field might say it adopted and those it actually borrowed and put into practice. And of course the narrative of a discipline’s institutional genealogy can change significantly as later interpreters reshape the narrative of the field’s development. In this regard, the preeminent historian of anthropology, George Stocking, observed well over thirty years ago that the division between the humanistic and anthropological conceptions of culture, as propounded by Arnold and Tylor, respectively, was less tidy than it might appear.⁶ Indeed, Stocking asserted, as Christopher Herbert approvingly paraphrases, that Arnold’s conception of culture is in some ways closer to the anthropological sense of the term than is Tylor’s own use of it.⁷ Herbert goes on to speculate, in fact, that Arnold’s famous invocation of right reason, defined by Arnold as the nation in its corporate, collective character, looks forward to the anthropological notion of culture as that body of thought which supposedly emanated from the collectivity as a whole. What in right reason most closely contributes to, or at least approximates, the anthropological conception of culture is, Herbert holds, that [right reason] is wholly produced by society and has no transcendental point of reference and that "it refers not to any particular norms but to the unity, the complex wholeness, of all a society’s constituent norms" (54–55).

Furthermore, Arnold is famous for his articulately resonant divisions of societal tendencies and social classes, taxonomies that would come to have crucial anthropological possibilities. There is Arnold’s division of Western culture and, specifically, British society into the forces of the Hebraistic, emphasizing morality, uprightness, conduct and obedience, and the Hellenistic, stressing sweetness and light, beauty and intelligence, and the impulse, as Arnold put it, to see things as they really are (88). While Arnold emphasized that each Western society contains strains of both the Hebraistic and the Hellenistic, his description of these aspects of culture, the one originating and epitomized in Judeo-Christian attitude, the other in classical Greek predilection, tends toward the personalized, as though the Hebraistic were a personality type: the relation between Arnold’s taxonomy and the early-twentieth-century anthropological and sociological debate on culture as personality is tantalizing. And perhaps even more anthropologically and sociologically suggestive is Arnold’s division of British society into Barbarians (the aristocracy), Philistines (the middle class), and Populace (the lower class).⁸ Both of these taxonomies work as formative ways of mapping Western societies that in themselves put into question any firm distinction between a humanist and an anthropological approach to culture.

Further, one charge often leveled at Arnold’s concept is that Arnold was attempting a stockpiling of high cultural products. According to this reading of Arnold, being cultured means acquiring or possessing superior things—poems, music, paintings. Raymond Williams notes that fairly or not, "hostility to the word culture in English appears to date from the controversy around Arnold’s views and that this animosity consistently has been connected with uses involving claims to superior knowledge . . . refinement . . . and distinctions between ‘high’ art (culture) and popular art and entertainment."⁹ In this respect, Arnold’s definition has been perceived, especially by anthropologists, as fundamentally at odds with what Williams calls "the steadily extending social and anthropological use of culture and cultural" (92).

And yet Arnold’s argument is not simply about acquiring cultural products; it is complexly concerned with attaining a state of mind that those works can facilitate. After all, Arnold’s famous definition in its fuller context reads, "The pursuit of our total perfection by means of getting to know, on all matters which most concern us, the best which has been thought and said in the world, and, importantly, the sentence continues, and through this knowledge, turning a stream of fresh and free thought upon our stock notions and habits (5, my italics). Those cultural products, in other words, are a means toward an end, and a socially beneficent end at that, for culture, according to Arnold, necessarily must ramify outward, toward the general social good: Culture, which is the study of perfection, Arnold claims, leads us to conceive of the true human perfection as a harmonious perfection, developing all sides of our humanity; and as a general perfection, developing all parts of our society."¹⁰ Finally, attaining culture is facilitated by high cultural products but is not granted exclusively through them: Arnold importantly qualifies that if a man without books or reading, or reading nothing but his letters and the newspapers, gets nevertheless a fresh and free play of the best thoughts upon his stock notions and habits, he has got culture (5).

On Tylor’s part, while his definition of culture as complex whole provides the template for anthropology’s central and defining concept, his work is seminally evolutionary in aspiration and method: on the opening page of Primitive Culture Tylor asserts that the various grades of civilization in fact may be regarded as stages of development or evolution, each the outcome of previous history.¹¹ Tylor’s evolutionary argument and methodology were in fact squarely opposed by the modern anthropologists—most prominently Franz Boas and his followers, and Bronislaw Malinowski—in their successful attempts to professionalize the discipline. Tylor, James Frazer, and other evolutionists essentially studied primitive cultures as exempla of the lower rungs of the human evolutionary scale (civilized Englishmen being at the top of that ladder).

Boas as early as the 1880s specifically attacked Tylorian assumptions concerning backward peoples and argued for an anthropological method that worked toward answering questions about the diffusion of cultural traits in local contexts rather than about clarifying the chains of the evolutionary ladder or finding the original human primitive type.¹² And later Malinowski, though he pays his own homage to the evolutionist Frazer’s research and writing style, argued for a new economy of anthropological method based upon the close participant observation of a single people in a single place in order to arrive at what makes that particular culture cohere or function.¹³

When Greenblatt says that the fuzzy usages of culture are scarcely the backbone of an innovative critical practice, he neglects to register that Arnold largely made modern literary critical practice possible, largely through the articulation of culture (along with its opposite, anarchy). In a general sense, both Arnold’s and Tylor’s definitions of culture not only explain the concept for their respective disciplines but also function as charters for the fields of literary study (most prevalently located in English departments) and anthropology. In Arnold’s case, his famous founding definition of culture first appeared in 1864, five years before the publication of Culture and Anarchy, in The Function of Criticism at the Present Time, an essay whose subject is specifically literary criticism. There, Arnold’s definition of culture is made to refer specifically to what literary criticism can do: the business of criticism, he states, is simply to know the best that is known and thought in the world.¹⁴

While Arnold emphasizes that the critical power is of lower rank than the creative (10), he says that the exercising of the free creative activity epitomized in the creation of great literature can be obtained through criticizing as well. In language that would be reformulated some seventy years later by Eliot,¹⁵ Arnold presses for the cultural legitimacy and even necessity of literary criticism, but he does so in rhetoric that presumes the very decline of that culture, for he assumes that the days of great literature are over and so the best way to preserve and articulate culture is through the act and art of literary criticism:

The epochs of Aeschylus and Shakspeare [sic] make us feel their preeminence. In an epoch like those is, no doubt, the true life of a literature; there is the promised land, towards which criticism can only beckon. That promised land it will not be ours to enter, and we shall die in the wilderness; but to have desired to enter it, to have saluted it from afar, is already, perhaps, the best distinction among contemporaries; it will certainly be the best title to esteem with posterity. (30)

In a sense the decline and fall of literature, as fashioned by Arnold, makes the profession of literary criticism possible, much as modern anthropologists construct, according to James Clifford, the disappearance of their objects, those primitive tribes whose survival, at least in the words of ethnography, depends upon and hence legitimates the anthropologist.¹⁶ In both cases the saving mechanism is culture itself, whether conceived as an elite product or pursuit or as a common, shared system of values. Importantly, as this book illustrates, neither of these formulations is exclusive to literary study or anthropology; rather, they complexly intermingle, trafficking between the disciplines, and shift their meanings as they do so.

This project functions as a reading of Anglo-American modernism broadly conceived—that is, crossing disciplinary lines to embrace literary, literary critical, and anthropological writing—with primary attention given to how models of culture are created, employed, elaborated upon, transformed, resisted, and ignored. Beginning with the important Victorian architects of culture, Arnold and Tylor, the book follows several main figures, schools, movements, and genealogies from the end of the nineteenth century to the 1940s: the anthropologist Boas and his disciples (Robert Lowie, Edward Sapir, Ruth Benedict, Zora Neale Hurston); the modernist literary artists T. S. Eliot and James Joyce; Malinowski, founder of the functionalist school of anthropology; and modernist literary critics, including Eliot, I. A. Richards, the New Critics (Cleanth Brooks, Allen Tate, and John Crowe Ransom), and Kenneth Burke, among others.

Critical to this book is the traffic between then emerging intellectual/artistic movements, professions, and disciplines, most importantly that between cultural anthropology and modernist literature and literary criticism. While I focus on culture as the central idea or term that mutually informs and animates these movements, I also study other key words or concepts—among them myth (and mythical), metaphor, narrative, irony, function (and functional)—in their development and deployment between and within the disciplines. I illustrate how these terms operate not only as attendants to but as displacements of and even versions of culture. In this respect, they do important culture work; though often they may apparently function as discipline-specific and ideologically neutral, like culture itself they collectively and individually propel quite varied and powerful social and political possibilities and limits.

As Raymond Williams has amply demonstrated, Victorian discourse gave rise to conceptions of culture that were artistically as well as broadly socially oriented, elitist as well as tending toward the egalitarian. Williams, however, tends to read the rise of culture as an unbroken train of intellectual development, and in this regard Christopher Herbert rightly refers to Williams’s treatment of culture as sacred (22, 26). This book, on the other hand, works upon the premise that the key Victorian texts on culture, Arnold’s Culture and Anarchy and Tylor’s Primitive Culture, themselves each problematically, confusedly, and generatively mixed artistic, social, elitist, and egalitarian elements and implications in their versions of culture.

Following this premise, I analyze how Anglo-American anthropological and literary texts of the modernist era (roughly 1915–40) mobilized culture in forms ranging from literal uses of the word culture to adoptions of institutionalized cultural models or templates. Culture, as well as and through the use of its attendant terms (myth, metaphor, etc.), significantly transmutes as it moves across and within the disciplines, so much so that rubrics designed to divide or classify the functions or uses of culture, such as Williams’s articulation of the artistic and the anthropological (Keywords, 92), can be used only with the understanding that they require redefinition with each recontextualization (i.e., as they move from discipline to discipline, from decade to decade).

And yet this project is not just a study of variousness. The traffic in culture inaugurated by Arnold and Tylor and made seminal to institutional revolution and consolidation by Malinowski and Eliot has a common ground in Tylor’s founding anthropological definition, that is, culture as a complex whole of human institutions, customs, and practices. Though the terms or their meanings may shift as they shuttle across the disciplines and the decades, complexity and wholeness become integral to the prevailing conceptions of modernism that unite early-century anthropology, literature, and literary theorizing. The generativeness of Tylor’s founding definition, what enables culture’s mobility in effect, is the necessity of the interworking of its parts: complexity necessitates wholeness, and wholeness makes possible complexity. In a consequent and common (though significantly variable) institutional turn, tribes and poems get read as complex wholes whose meaning, as decoded by institutionally based specialists, resides in the interrelation of their intricate parts.

This book finds its center of gravity in 1922, the year posed by historians of both literary modernism and modern anthropology as dating the revolution in each. Nineteen twenty-two saw the publication of The Waste Land and Ulysses, as well as Argonauts of the Western Pacific and A. R. Radcliffe-Brown’s first monograph, The Andaman Islanders, all of which effectively remapped the discourse of their fields. As George Stocking notes, 1922 also saw the death of the prominent British anthropologist W. H. R. Rivers, more than symbolically marking Malinowski’s victory as the leading light in British cultural anthropology.¹⁷ And the literary historian Michael Levenson notes that 1922’s preeminence for literary modernism probably owes less to the publication of The Waste Land than to Eliot’s founding in the same year the extremely powerful periodical Criterion, which more than any organ was responsible for articulating, in highly particular ways, modernism as movement.¹⁸

These observations are meant not to argue for either the highly coincidental or the intrinsically significant nature of 1922 but rather to underscore, retrospectively, the significance of institutional control and consolidation at the point of the long-regarded revolution in each movement. As Eliot’s efforts were bent toward channeling the reading of the new literary scene known later as the modernist movement, so Malinowski was involved in quite deliberately shaping the functionalist school.

While T. S. Eliot’s Notes towards the Definition of Culture (1948) is, according to Raymond Williams, the most important twentieth-century disquisition upon the word culture (Culture and Society, 227), in The Waste Land, published twenty-five years earlier, Eliot never mentions the word. After analyzing the diverse cultural models that Eliot in Notes incorporates, wrestles with, or rejects in his effort to limit, bind, or give definition to the term, I then cast back twenty-five years to consider the role played by these and other cultural models in Eliot’s highly influential poem.

The Waste Land is grounded in arguments or assumptions on the origin, configuration, transmission, and disintegration of culture that are variously and deeply Arnoldian and also rooted in the comparative-evolutionary anthropology of Tylor and Frazer. But this project also assesses the poem’s relation to the modern, and for Eliot contemporary, ethnographic definitions of and models for culture, including those of Boas and Malinowski, and proposes reading not just The Waste Land but also the history of its interpretation as a complex palimpsest of culture models, comparative as well as ethnographic, metaphoric as well as metonymic, spatial as well as historical.

This book considers the cultural arguments inhering in Eliot’s important call, in his 1923 review of Ulysses, for a mythical method that would replace traditional narrative method and thus make the modern world possible for art.¹⁹ In this vein the history of reading Ulysses, and by extension modernism in general, is itself read as a contest between the comparativist mode of reading it mythically and the more modern (Malinowskian) ethnographic mode of reading it culturally, that is, as a narrative about the history of a particular people—a culture—in a particular place and time. I also analyze Joyce’s own literal use of culture words (culture and its derivates) in Ulysses as well as in Dubliners and discover there ironically rendered versions of the word’s complex historical usage, with especially rich commentary on Arnoldian debate on the term.

The late-nineteenth-century anthropological debate on collecting and exhibiting culture (or cultures: the difference in number is itself part of the debate), as seen most visibly in the early professional activities and writings of Boas, provides a very generative template through which to view the architecture, implications, and impact of both The Waste Land and Ulysses. While evolutionists argued that cultural artifacts ought to be arranged according to levels of technical development and use, Boas argued for their arrangement according to tribe or locale, with attention to the distinctiveness of each culture and the diffusion or spread of cultural traits from one neighboring cultural area to another. This conflict in the way of reading culture is itself read into the arrangement and critical reception of The Waste Land and Ulysses.

While the discursiveness of modern cultural anthropology becomes a predominating concern of this project, I do not simply read classical anthropological texts as literary or as simply influencing, or being influenced by, the literary modernist movement. In this respect, Malinowski’s groundbreaking ethnographic work is read in terms of its narrativity, which, importantly, does not amount to noting Malinowski’s narrative tendencies or his ethnographies’ literary and discursive origins or nature; rather, it means working with Malinowski’s own disquisitions upon narrative, upon the perils of the interpretation of native languages, and upon the nature of language itself. Central to this discussion is Malinowski’s classic Argonauts of the Western Pacific (1922), as well as his important linguistic study The Problem of Meaning in Primitive Languages.

In Argonauts and in works such as Myth in Primitive Psychology Malinowski overtly positions the departure from narrative in his own texts as the synchronous plunging into the mythical and magical realities of native life. Many of Malinowski’s digressions in Argonauts, in fact, suspend narrative in order to expound upon the manner by which the natives themselves suspend the narrative-historical realm through the magic that links the ancient realm of myth and modern tribal life. Thus reading primitive culture narra-tively, that is, reading it merely through its stories or through a narrative format, becomes associated with amateurism; and the suspension of narrative time and recourse to magical-mythical realities as unconsciously practiced by the native and consciously used as an interpretive template by the anthropologist is firmly and powerfully bound to modern professional practice.

Malinowski’s own discussion of the quandaries and promises of the translation (in the fullest ethnographic sense) of native languages is in conversation with, as well as in anticipation of, modernist theories of semiology. This treatment brings to the fore functional anthropology’s filiations to the linguistic theories of I. A. Richards and, by extension, the New Critics, as well as to the writings of Kenneth Burke. (In fact, Malinowski’s tying of primitive language use to action rather than to thought looks forward strikingly to Burke’s argument in Literature as Equipment for Living [1937] for literature and literary forms as "strategies for dealing with situations.")²⁰ Modern anthropology’s involvement with modern theories of signification, this treatment hopes to illustrate, is hardly limited to or even epitomized by Continental Saus-surian and structuralist legacies.

The fifteen or so years following 1922 saw a struggle to make the revolution in each field orthodox, and the latter part of this book chronicles in good part the variegated progress of this consolidation, along with the significant areas of methodological difference as well as commonality: between the British functionalist scene and the American Boasian school, for example, and between the New Critics and their adversaries. However, a key figure or model common to all of these movements—that is, Boasian and functional anthropology, modernist literature and literary criticism—is culture itself, complexly various in its discipline-specific forms and yet, certainly by the 1930s, commonly regarded and used as a multifaceted, organic whole, the relation of whose parts generate a comprehensive meaning that is, significantly, held to be greater than the sum of its parts.

It is not difficult to see the cultural holism animating Ruth Benedict’s famous Patterns of Culture (1934) or Edward Sapir’s earlier, enormously influential Culture, Genuine and Spurious (1924).What this project does, however, is to put these works in conversation with their literary counterparts in terms of the models for culture that they employ. In this respect Sapir’s Culture, Genuine and Spurious is read alongside Eliot’s The Waste Land (they were published one year apart, and in the same periodical) as postwar works that, premised upon the notion of cultural ruin, construct taxonomies of cultural authenticity and a new civilizational order out of the fragments or bits of culture.

Similarly, Benedict’s Patterns of Culture and the New Criticism are read as analogous in their employment of cultural models—for Benedict, the anthropological notion of discrete social groups termed cultures; for the New Critics, a more elite/aesthetic autonomous construct, the modern poem. Both were said to function as complex holistic structures bursting with a meaningfulness arrived at only relationally (by reference to its parts) and eminently accessible to the disciplined (disciplinary) reader (anthropologist, critic).

In this light Benedict is read as congruent with her fellow Boasian Hurston in terms of the arguments each makes for an aesthetically oriented anthropology, which means, among other things, a social science that emphasizes the aesthetic nature and motivations of anthropological culture. (For example, Benedict asserts that cultures function like, rise and fall like, the styles of high art.) At the same time, Hurston’s corpus is read as at variance with Benedict’s, as attempting a more hybridic—literary and anthropological—kind of text and embodying and arguing a conception of both text and culture as less whole and more ragged, as perhaps giving full-bodied form to what Lowie, another fellow Boasian, in another time (1920) and another context (postwar) hazarded as that planless hodge-podge, that thing of shreds and patches.²¹ Finally, Hurston, like Malinowski (and Burke, for that matter) argues for the legitimacy of magic (in her case, hoodoo) in the functioning of a culture. However, Hurston goes native in ways unprecedented in Malinowskian, or for that matter Boasian,