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Other editions. Enlarge cover. Error rating book. Refresh and try again. Open Preview See a Problem? Details if other :. Thanks for telling us about the problem. Return to Book Page. Sidney W. Mintz Illustrator. Hugo Charteris Translator. Voodoo in Haiti is a masterwork of observation and description by one of the most distinguished anthropologists of the twentieth century. It is an accurate and engaging account of one of the most fascin Voodoo in Haiti is a masterwork of observation and description by one of the most distinguished anthropologists of the twentieth century.
It is an accurate and engaging account of one of the most fascinating and misunderstood cultures in the world. Get A Copy. Paperback , pages. Published April 29th by Pantheon first published More Details Original Title. Other Editions 8. Friend Reviews. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.
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More filters. Sort order. Start your review of Voodoo in Haiti. Voodoo traditions have their roots in Dahomean beliefs Kingdom of Dahomey, modern day Benin , as well as other civilizations in the area.
These beliefs and practices that were brought to Hispaniola on the slave ships--in deals often brokered by Dahomean kings; enemy prisoners from nearby tribes made up at least part of the slaves bought by the French. The average lifespan, Metraux tells us, of a slave upon first arriving on the new island was ten years.
The slave-owner's philosophy was work the Voodoo traditions have their roots in Dahomean beliefs Kingdom of Dahomey, modern day Benin , as well as other civilizations in the area.
The slave-owner's philosophy was work them until they die and buy new ones. Out of this unconscionable environment springs Vodou--a comixture of ancient beliefs themselves as complex and varied as the peoples brought over with the Catholicism given to them by the French. Vodou then as I take it is a series of metaphors interpreted by an oppressed people that includes both oral histories and experiential ritual in order to give their lives meaning.
Specific locational origins aside, I ask one to consider what religion--be it eastern or western, pagan or monotheistic, animist or anthropomorphic--doesn't fit this exact description? My argument: that religion is a series of metaphors created by a society in order to help them find healing and meaning--has no bearing on any religious "reality".
All religions, Christianity included, hinge on belief; they are to be experienced and interpreted individually. Metraux doesn't see it this way. For him, Vodou isn't a religion because only Christianity could be taken seriously enough to be a religion. I won't lay into this too much. The fact is that I believe true insight comes only when one believes in the subject matter.
This is as true in literature as it is in religion. Can someone who never really enjoyed reading--Faulkner, Joyce, DFW, Pynchon, etc--really be a good judge of what that author is trying to say? Metraux needs his anthropologist credential to give himself objectivity, but it turns out to be a shield between himself and the society he is studying and isn't a bit strange to study a society as if they were microbes and not people?
Isn't that missing the point to start with? Some may disagree with my conclusion about Metraux. While a certain disinterested view of religion can be beneficial--in that this view will allow others to formulate their own opinions--at a certain point one loses the ability to explain that which one does not believe in.
As is said in many reviews, as a primer this is a good source. I found myself wishing there was a Vodou equivalent of the Iliad or the Old Testament, so that I could glean knowledge and formulate opinions on Vodou in general as I would a work of strong literature. The fact that Vodou remains a largely oral and experiential tradition speaks to a fundamental difference in civilization and society, not so much in basic values or potential, but in how we absorb the metaphors of our culture.
The Hebrew and Greek literary traditions give us a certain framework--responsible for the novel, and from there, TV and movies at least in terms of story arcs. Other cultures come from a different place, and as such, being a westerner maybe I wasn't meant to understand the deeper mysteries of Vodou, or maybe to have a deeper understanding means to find the loa in one's own backyard, the spirit of my own location, instead of the divinities of Haiti.
Should I run into a green-eyed mulatto steering a houseboat on Lake Mead however, I'll make sure to treat him with the requisite respect ; View all 5 comments. Un indagine antropologica, psicologica, storica e religiosa affascinante. Fenomeno di sincretismo fusione di cristianesimo e religioni animiste dell'Africa equatoriale religioso, il voodoo esula dalla religione ed entra a pieno titolo nella magia e nello sciamanismo.
Particolare quello haitiano, interclassista. Grazie alle tate nere il voodoo infatti era entrato a far parte della cultura borghese e delle classi dirigenti. View 2 comments. This is a great survey of Haitian Voodoo. Metraux does an excellent job capturing the personality, color and vibrancy of the this very misunderstood religion and the people who practice it.
I wonder, however, if some of it is a bit outdated. Considering that the book was first published in , there's probably more recent research in the areas of neuroscience and psychology that might explain possession, or fresher interpretations of the legacy of West African religion in contemporary Voodoo.
Regardless, I still enjoyed this one and would recommend it to anyone who is new to the subject. View 1 comment. Jun 13, Andrew rated it really liked it Shelves: haiti , religion , african-diaspora , history. Many of us derive our ideas about Voodoo from horror films or derogatory comments made by those who know nothing about it.
That is why it was so good to come across a work like this. This book dispels the myths and presents Voodoo not just as a religion but virtually a way of life. In particular the Catholic church and together with the Evangelical denominations.
Well worth reading if you want to get to the roots of the religion. Aug 28, Leah Polcar rated it it was amazing Shelves: popsugar-challenge , read , religion. While a bit dated in terms of describing the modern practice of Voodoo, this was published in and Haitian culture has changed after all, it remains a clear examination of the history of Haiti pres and a thorough and comprehensible explanation of a complicated theology. Recommended for anyone who is interested in Haitian history or early culture, wants an explanation of what Voodoo is and how it is practiced, or likes comparative religions.
Feb 13, Januari rated it it was amazing. Nov 08, Michael rated it liked it Shelves: culture , non-fiction. Not bad. A lot of info to absorb. I felt it got easier to follow and a little better towards the end. If you already know a little about voodoo you will probably enjoy it more.
It is very informative but I had a hard time keeping track of it all at first. The more I read the more familiar I got with some of it.
I wouldn't highly recommend it, but if you're interested in voodoo it couldn't hurt to give this book a try. You may be able to follow it better than I was able to. Feb 26, Guido Henkel rated it it was amazing. Very insightful look into the religion without sensationalizing it. Highly recommended to anyone interested in the roots of Voodoo.
Jul 25, Karen Davis rated it it was amazing. Oct 12, Brian rated it really liked it. The island's collective complex of mythology and practical means of addressing the supernatural weaves together elements of European superstition, Catholicism, and the gods and rites of West Africa, each utterly divested of its original context and significance, recast in conformity with the exigencies and conventions of Haiti's natural and social ecology.
Nevertheless, it is apparent from his own reports that efficacy and mythopoetic consistency, not superficial piety, are the criteria by which devotees assess the validity and authenticity of a theophanic event, and which form the sine qua non of their faith. Nov 05, Beaird Glover rated it it was amazing.
Voodoo Haiti by Metraux Alfred
By Alfred Metraux. To join our mailing list for new titles or for issues with our books—picklepublishing gmail. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted by any means, electrical, mechanical or otherwise without the written permission of the copyright holder. We have also made every effort to include all maps and illustrations of the original edition the limitations of formatting do not allow of including larger maps, we will upload as many of these maps as possible. II La-place master of ceremonies , carrying a matchet and leading a procession of hunsi. III 1.
Voodoo in Haiti