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Word of Mouth

Edmund Leach, 3 March 1988

The Interface between the Written and the Oral 
by Jack Goody.
Cambridge, 328 pp., £27.50, July 1987, 0 521 33268 0
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... Jack Goody took early retirement from the prestigious post of William Wise Professor of Social Anthropology at the University of Cambridge and is now in a highly productive phase of his career. Indeed, if Cambridge University Press had not put many of his recent writings into a single series, it would be hard to keep track of all the things he has been up to ...

No Haute Cuisine in Africa

Ernest Gellner, 2 September 1982

Cooking, Cuisine and Class: A Study in Comparative Sociology 
by Jack Goody.
Cambridge, 253 pp., £19.50, June 1982, 0 521 24455 2
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... but they are by now, all of them, in academic retirement. Of the cohort which follows them, Jack Goody is one of the leading figures. In Eastern Europe, there is a joke about the current generation of Communist leaders which says that its coming was predicted in the Bible: ‘Then came a generation which knew not Joseph.’ ...


David Allen, 5 August 1993

The Culture of Flowers 
by Jack Goody.
Cambridge, 480 pp., £40, February 1993, 0 521 41441 5
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... For the time being, we must be grateful that they are content to share them with the rest of us. Jack Goody has already drawn on the newly-rich store of anthropological reference to produce wide-ranging, thought-provoking books on the relationship between the spoken and the written, the connections between cooking and social class, and the development ...


Maurice Bloch, 5 July 1984

The Development of the Family and Marriage in Europe 
by Jack Goody.
Cambridge, 308 pp., £22.50, July 1983, 9780521247399
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... meddle with each other’s subject-matter. Nonetheless, this publication is a new development, for Goody is dealing with one of the most familiar places and periods of traditional history: Europe from the decline of the Roman Empire to the Reformation. The very scale of the enterprise is revealing. Covering such a long period and such a diverse but ...

Things Keep Happening

Geoffrey Hawthorn: Histories of Histories, 20 November 2008

A History of Histories: Epics, Chronicles, Romances and Inquiries from Herodotus and Thucydides to the 20th Century 
by John Burrow.
Allen Lane, 553 pp., £25, December 2007, 978 0 7139 9337 0
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What Was History? The Art of History in Early Modern Europe 
by Anthony Grafton.
Cambridge, 319 pp., £13.99, March 2007, 978 0 521 69714 9
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The Theft of History 
by Jack Goody.
Cambridge, 342 pp., £14.99, January 2007, 978 0 521 69105 5
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Thucydides and the Philosophical Origins of History 
by Darien Shanske.
Cambridge, 268 pp., £54, January 2007, 978 0 521 86411 4
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... on Exmoor, in the Reformation. History writing now is as heterogeneous as it has ever been. Jack Goody, however, is not satisfied. The deformations of a Eurocentric whiggism, he believes, are with us still. Historians who were writing around the middle of the last century – Moses Finley on the ancient world, Joseph Needham on ‘science and ...

No Concubine

Mary Beard, 28 June 1990

The Oxford Book of Marriage 
edited by Helge Rubinstein.
Oxford, 383 pp., £15, March 1990, 0 19 214150 3
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The Oriental, the Ancient and the Primitive: Systems of Marriage and the Family in the Pre-Industrial Societies of Eurasia 
by Jack Goody.
Cambridge, 542 pp., £37.50, February 1990, 0 521 36574 0
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... our own, contemporary, terms? It is surprising to feel on occasion the same kind of unease with Goody’s The Oriental, the Ancient and the Primitive. This is just the latest in a series of studies by Goody (five lengthy books in the last ten years) which have explored the relationship between anthropological and ...

Common Ground

Edmund Leach, 19 September 1985

A Social History of Western Europe 1450-1720: Tensions and Solidarities among Rural People 
by Sheldon Watts.
Hutchinson, 275 pp., £7.95, October 1984, 0 09 156081 0
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Kinship in the Past: An Anthropology of European Family Life 1500-1900 
by Andrejs Plakans.
Blackwell, 276 pp., £24.50, September 1984, 0 631 13066 7
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Interests and Emotion: Essays on the Study of Family and Kinship 
edited by Hans Medick and David Warren Sabean.
Cambridge, 417 pp., £35, June 1984, 0 521 24969 4
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... the relevance of history for anthropology and vice versa, but not much action. Exceptionally, Jack Goody’s latest book, The Development of the Family and Marriage in Europe (1983), represents an ambitious attempt to evaluate historical sources through the eyes of a social anthropologist, while Alan Macfarlane has changed sides and now prefers to be ...

Djojo on the Corner

Benedict Anderson, 24 August 1995

After the Fact: Two Countries, Four Decades, One Anthropologist 
by Clifford Geertz.
Harvard, 198 pp., £17.95, April 1995, 0 674 00871 5
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... between 1919 and 1930 were born the modern – one might also say pre-Post-Modern – masters: Jack Goody (1919), Victor Turner (1920), Mary Douglas (1921), and Marshall Sahlins (1930). Right in the middle came Clifford Geertz, who was born in San Francisco in 1926. In the quarter-century between 1960, when he published his masterly The Religion of ...

Giant Goody Goody

Edwin Morgan: Fairytales, 24 May 2001

The Complete Fairytales 
by George MacDonald, edited by U.C. Knoepflmacher.
Penguin, 354 pp., January 2000, 0 14 043737 1
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Ventures into Childland: Victorians, Fairytales and Femininity 
by U.C. Knoepflmacher.
Chicago, 444 pp., £24.50, June 2001, 0 226 44816 9
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... as the antidote: Oh! give us once again the wishing-cap Of Fortunatus, and the invisible coat Of Jack the Giant-killer, Robin Hood, And Sabra in the forest with St George! The move from wonder to instruction might seem an inevitable consequence of the move from oral to literary tales. But even a highly literate tale like Alice in Wonderland cannot be ...

Retreat of the Male

Eric Hobsbawm: Revolution in the Family, 4 August 2005

Between Sex and Power: Family in the World 1900-2000 
by Göran Therborn.
Routledge, 379 pp., £24.99, February 2004, 0 415 30078 9
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... West Asian/North African – belonging to the two major branches which the social anthropologist Jack Goody has taught us to recognise, the African and the Eurasian. Therborn prefers a ‘geocultural’ division to one based on religion, since, as he sees it, geoculture generally prevails. Hindu and Muslim family practices in North India are similar but ...

What’s not to like?

Stefan Collini: Ernest Gellner, 2 June 2011

Ernest Gellner: An Intellectual Biography 
by John Hall.
Verso, 400 pp., £29.99, July 2010, 978 1 84467 602 6
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... label of ‘public intellectual’. His peers were figures such as, say, the anthropologist Jack Goody or the social theorist W.G. Runciman – theorists of great conceptual and empirical range, but not primarily contemporary political and cultural commentators – rather than media-friendly academics such as Hugh Trevor-Roper or A.J. Ayer. The ...

Unreasoning Vigour

Stefan Collini: Ian Watt, 9 May 2019

Ian Watt: The Novel and the Wartime Critic 
by Marina MacKay.
Oxford, 228 pp., £25, November 2018, 978 0 19 882499 2
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... of print, for example, bears the impress of his collaboration with the Cambridge anthropologist Jack Goody, and his analysis of the development of family structure in early modern England shows the influence of conversations with the historian Peter Laslett. For Watt, as for several other literary critics of his generation, the traditional ...


Duncan Campbell, 19 October 1995

The Autobiography of a Thief 
by Bruce Reynolds.
Bantam, 320 pp., £15.99, April 1995, 0 593 03779 0
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... Charlie Wilson, the sort of father you see by the hundred in France on Sunday outings ... [Gordon] Goody, nerves of steel and the wolfish handsomeness of the pack leader ... The events were so vividly in the minds of the actors that they remember, like Henry V at Agincourt, what feats they did that day.’ Never mind Agincourt, note the ‘little man’ and ...


Perry Anderson, 8 November 1990

Storia Notturna: Una Decifrazione del Sabba 
by Carlo Ginzburg.
Einaudi, 320 pp., lire 45,000, August 1989, 9788806115098
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... survived just because it has been reduced to insignificance. In a famous retort to Lévi-Strauss, Jack Goody once remarked that the persistence of certain dishes might be explained not by their symbolic meaning, but their indifference to it, as simple pegs of existential continuity. The same could, of course, be said of many features of dress. This is ...

I need money

Christian Lorentzen: Biden Tries Again, 10 September 2020

Yesterday’s Man: The Case against Joe Biden 
by Branko Marcetic.
Verso, 288 pp., £12.99, March 2020, 978 1 83976 028 0
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... his pals from the neighbourhood, maybe a crony from the Scranton Tribune, and my Finnegan uncles, Jack and Boo-Boo, settled in at the kitchen table. They’d sit in the spreading afternoon light talking sports and politics. These men were educated, informed and eclectic – and they loved to debate. They’d argue local politics, state politics, world ...

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