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... no such thing. Societies are defined as such by the observer, and (as was forcibly argued by Sir Edmund Leach in his Radcliffe-Brown Lecture in 1976) it was a mistake of Radcliffe-Brown’s to imply that either societies or species are entities unproblematically given in nature. There is a host of examples in the historical and ethnographic record of ...


Patrick Hughes: What do artists do?, 24 July 1986

... a few in translation. Imagine my shock when I read in the 20 March issue of the London Review, in Edmund Leach’s review of Lévi-Strauss’s latest, The View from Afar, that ‘the essay on Max Ernst contains an analysis of that artist’s celebrated construction of a sewing-machine and an umbrella on a dissection table.’ It does not. I have been to ...

Anything but Staffordshire

Rosemary Hill, 18 September 1997

Rare Spirit: A Life of William De Morgan 1839-1917 
by Mark Hamilton.
Constable, 236 pp., £22.50, September 1997, 0 09 474670 2
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... counted against De Morgan with the craft purists. May Morris thought it his only fault. Bernard Leach – himself much less technically skilled – was dismissive. De Morgan’s achievement was the balance in his work between the conflicting elements in the Arts and Crafts ethos, in which individuals attempted to re-create the quality of anonymous ...

I have no books to consult

Stephen Sedley: Lord Mansfield, 22 January 2015

Lord Mansfield: Justice in the Age of Reason 
by Norman Poser.
McGill-Queen’s, 532 pp., £24.99, September 2013, 978 0 7735 4183 2
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... Life of Mansfield contains at least one palpable fabrication. In the 20th century two scholars, Edmund Heward and C.H.S. Fifoot, produced good short biographies focused on Mansfield as a lawmaker; and James Oldham (the author of the excellent entry on Mansfield in the current DNB), with new access to a large cache of Mansfield’s trial notes, produced a ...

A Generous Quantity of Fat

Paul Henley: Yes, People Were Cooked, 2 September 1999

Man Corn: Cannibalism and Violence in the Prehistoric American South-West 
by Christy Turner and Jacqueline Turner.
Utah, 512 pp., $60, January 1999, 9780874805666
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Cannibalism and the Colonial World 
edited by Francis Barker and Peter Hulme.
Cambridge, 309 pp., £13.95, August 1998, 0 521 62118 6
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Cannibals: The Discovery and Representation of the Cannibal from Columbus to Jules Verne 
by Frank Lestringant, translated by Rosemary Morris.
Polity, 256 pp., £39.50, April 1997, 0 7456 1697 6
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Chronicles of the Guayakí Indians 
by Pierre Clastres, translated by Paul Auster.
Faber, 256 pp., £9.99, June 1998, 0 571 19398 6
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... critics. The title of his chapter, ‘Rethinking Anthropophagy’, is an ironic reference to Edmund Leach’s famous paper called ‘Rethinking Anthropology’ (Leach described Arens’s original argument as ‘absurd’). It is also ironic in that this turns out to be no rethink at all. Unrepentant, Arens ...

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