1st Edition

The Textual Life of Savants Ethnography, Iceland, and the Linguistic Turn

By Gisli Palsson Copyright 1995
    222 Pages
    by Routledge

    First Published in 1995. Routledge is an imprint of Taylor & Francis, an informa company.

    From Life to TextTimes, Lives and Medieval TextsLives, Texts and Modern RealitiesThe Factual, the Fictive and the FabulousNovel and EthnographyThe Metaphor of Cultural TranslationSagas, History, and Social LifeThe Power of Words and the Context of WitchcraftFetishized Language, Symbolic Capital, and Social IdentityEnskilment and Sea: From Rules to PracticeFast Fish and Loose Talk: Beyond Textualist AppropriationConclusion: Towards a Theory of Living Discourse


    Gisli Palsson

    "Icelanders have always been keenly aware of the cultural importance of language and the social power of texts; the language and literature have been the touchstones of Icelandic identity from the medieval Commonwealth to the modern nation-state. In this masterful and innovative study by anthropologist Gísli Pálsson, the preoccupation of Icelanders with language and texts serves not only as a highly productive point of departure for the anthropological exploration of Icelandic history, society, and culture, but also as a frame of reference for a trenchant critique of textual ideologies and practices in anthropology itself. The range of The Textual Life of the Savants, from the Sturlunga Saga to the Sexual Life of Savages, ni to novels, orientalism to the dative case, is truly remarkable." -- Distinguished Professor of Folklore and Anthropology, Indiana University of Richard Bauman