Magical Criticism: The Recourse of Savage Philosophy by Christopher BrackenMagical Criticism: The Recourse of Savage Philosophy by Christopher Bracken

Magical Criticism: The Recourse of Savage Philosophy

byChristopher Bracken

Paperback | August 15, 2007

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During the Enlightenment, Western scholars racialized ideas, deeming knowledge based on reality superior to that based on ideality. Scholars labeled inquiries into ideality, such as animism and soul-migration, “savage philosophy,” a clear indicator of the racism motivating the distinction between the real and the ideal. In their view, the savage philosopher mistakes connections between signs for connections between real objects and believes that discourse can have physical effects—in other words, they believe in magic.

Christopher Bracken’s Magical Criticism brings the unacknowledged history of this racialization to light and shows how, even as we have rejected ethnocentric notions of “the savage,” they remain active today in everything from attacks on postmodernism to Native American land disputes. Here Bracken reveals that many of the most influential Western thinkers dabbled in savage philosophy, from Marx, Nietzsche, and Proust, to Freud, C. S. Peirce, and Walter Benjamin. For Bracken, this recourse to savage philosophy presents an opportunity to reclaim a magical criticism that can explain the very real effects created by the discourse of historians, anthropologists, philosophers, the media, and governments.
Christopher Bracken is associate professor in the Department of English and Film Studies at the University of Alberta. He is the author of The Potlatch Papers: A Colonial Case History, also published by the University of Chicago Press.
Title:Magical Criticism: The Recourse of Savage PhilosophyFormat:PaperbackDimensions:256 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.6 inPublished:August 15, 2007Publisher:University of Chicago PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0226069915

ISBN - 13:9780226069913


Table of Contents

Introduction: What Are Savages For?
Chapter One: Discourse Is Now
Chapter Two: The New Barbarism
Chapter Three: The Mana Type
Chapter Four: Commodity Totemism
Chapter Five: Allegories of the Sun, Specters of Excess
Coda: The Solaris Hypothesis

Editorial Reviews

“Bracken argues that, despite our denial, savage philosophy is very much with us today, and in an extraordinary whirl through many of today’s canonized thinker, he uncovers and explicates its strands. What is quite extraordinary is the depth and breadth of Bracken’s purview—this book will appeal to scholars of literary criticism, anthropology, philosophy, and intellectual history. I was enchanted by it.”