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Primitive Passions :
In the 18th and 19th centuries, colonization of so-called "primitive cultures" by Western countries was the way of the world. Powerful nations sought to increase their wealth and power by subjugating the peoples of Africa, Asia, and the Americas. Now, in the 20th century, cultures once dismissed as inferior have become a source of fascination to Westerners, who perceive in them a heightened spirituality, stronger sense of community, greater reverence for nature--all the things, in fact, that the West fears it has lost. Marianna Torgovnick, a professor and chair of the English department at Duke University, explores the West's modern quest for ecstasy in the provocative work Primitive Passions.
What makes Professor Torgovnick's book so valuable is how wide she casts her net. New Age philosophy, travel literature--even the movie Dances with Wolves--are all grist for her discussion. C. G. Jung, Isak Dinesen, Georgia O'Keeffe, and D. H. Lawrence populate her chronicle as she examines the different ways men and women respond to primitive ecstasy. Primitive Passions is an intelligent and illuminating survey. [via]