In his article, "Comparative Literature as Textual Anthropology," Antony Tatlow proposes textual anthropology as a critic's approach in the comparative study of literature. If anthropology is "behavioural hermeneutics" (Clifford Geertz) with the implication of self-reflexivity, the anthropologist will be disposed to fashion in the object of attention what is neglected and that can therefore be described as the unconscious of his/her own culture. In an application of his framework, Tatlow relates totemic and utopian thought through the use of animal signs. In his article, Tatlow shows how cultural demands both fashion the ethnographer-critic and select the perspectives he/she must transcend. As auto-anthropologist, the artist "invents," instead of "describing," the Other. Tatlow discusses in his application of textual anthropology in comparative literature Gauguin and Brecht and shows how Lévi-Strauss enables us to understand Brecht’s response to Daoism and Buddhism as energised by the repressions in what we call the social or cultural unconscious.
"Comparative Literature as Textual Anthropology."
CLCWeb: Comparative Literature and Culture
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