The Returns Of Fetishism: Charles De Brosses And The Afterlives Of An Idea

Paperback | July 6, 2017

byCharles De Brosses, Rosalind C. Morris

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For more than 250 years, Charles de Brosses’s term “fetishism” has exerted great influence over our most ambitious thinkers. Used as an alternative to “magic,” but nonetheless expressing the material force of magical thought, de Brosses’s term has proved indispensable to thinkers as diverse as Kant, Hegel, Marx, Freud, Lacan, Baudrillard, and Derrida. With this book, Daniel H. Leonard offers the first fully annotated English translation of the text that started it all, On the Worship of Fetish Gods, and Rosalind C. Morris offers incisive commentary that helps modern readers better understand it and its legacy. 
           
The product of de Brosses’s autodidactic curiosity and idiosyncratic theories of language, On the Worship of Fetish Gods is an enigmatic text that is often difficult for contemporary audiences to assess. In a thorough introduction to the text, Leonard situates de Brosses’s work within the cultural and intellectual milieu of its time. Then, Morris traces the concept of fetishism through its extraordinary permutations as it was picked up and transformed by the fields of philosophy, comparative religion, political economy, psychoanalysis, and anthropology. Ultimately, she breaks new ground, moving into and beyond recent studies by thinkers such as William Pietz, Hartmut Böhme, and Alfonso Iacono through illuminating new discussions on topics ranging from translation issues to Africanity and the new materialisms. 

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For more than 250 years, Charles de Brosses’s term “fetishism” has exerted great influence over our most ambitious thinkers. Used as an alternative to “magic,” but nonetheless expressing the material force of magical thought, de Brosses’s term has proved indispensable to thinkers as diverse as Kant, Hegel, Marx, Freud, Lacan, Baudrilla...

Charles de Brosses (1709–77) was a noted French thinker who wrote on topics ranging from philology to linguistics to history. Rosalind C. Morris is professor of anthropology at Columbia University. She is the author of several books, including, most recently, Accounts and Drawings from Underground and That Which Is Not Drawn.  Daniel H...

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:480 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.68 inPublished:July 6, 2017Publisher:University of Chicago PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:022646475X

ISBN - 13:9780226464756

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“Through Morris’s and Leonard’s lucid, highly readable translation, Charles de Brosses’s On the Worship of Fetish Gods has been made available to an English readership for the first time in this richly annotated edition. Situated at the intersection of philology and ethnoanthropology, The Returns of Fetishism provides a provocative counter model to David Hume’s Natural History of Religion. Morris’s essay shows how de Brosses’s materialist concept of the fetish inspired Marx and Freud, their followers, and their critics. With the publication of this book we have an important resource for the critique of ideology and the history of theory.”