An Intellectual History of Cannibalism


Product Details

Princeton University Press
Publish Date
6.1 X 9.1 X 1.0 inches | 1.14 pounds

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About the Author

Cătălin Avramescu is reader in political science at the University of Bucharest and a docent in philosophy at the University of Helsinki.


Avramescu wants to know why the history of thinking-with-cannibals is coextensive, more or less, with early modern history, the period from the age of discovery to the age of enlightenment. Even if Avramescu's affectionate revival of the figure of the cannibal is not a project of its time, his work reminds us nonetheless of the treasures to be found along the via negativa through the history of political philosophy.---Justin E. H. Smith, n+1
This book is a true banquet, a lavish succession of courses making up a real blowout of facts and references, some spicy, some less so, all served up with delicious side dishes and copious drafts of heady intellectual wine. A few readers may find the whole meal a little more filling than they might have wished, but it is certainly a major scholarly feast.---Simon Blackburn, Times Higher Education
Romanian philosopher Catalin Avramescu's learned and brilliantly told intellectual history of anthropophagy recovers the cannibal's once central place in formal thought about what it means to be human.---Steven Shapin, Los Angeles Review of Books
We have here a fresh look at texts much interpreted, especially from the Enlightenment, but viewed from relatively unexplored angles.-- "Choice"
This provocative and often brilliant book is not so much a contribution to 'cannibal' studies as a critical evaluation of the Enlightenment's (and, by extension, our own) moral perspective. . . . Avramescu's research ranges widely, and his readings of familiar texts are always sharp and original. . . . [H]e brilliantly articulates the critical challenges raised by eighteenth-century human science.---David W. Bates, ISIS
[T]his is a remarkable work and there really is no other book like it.---Noel Malcolm, Standpoint
Avramescu's study of the intellectual history of ideas about cannibalism is an absorbing analysis and a compelling critique of the history of political thought, which every student of human history and intraspecies violence will want to include in her personal library. The translation offers a flowing and elegant read, accessible to any educated audience, and would serve well as a textbook in higher education classes on political thought and violence. I recommend the book most highly.---Wendy C. Hamblet, Metapsychology Online
This study is essential reading for those interested in the intellectual history of Europe and for ethnographers concerned with cannibal discourses and fantasies.---Gananath Obeyesekere, Historian
The book's outstanding feature is the author's encyclopedic knowledge and erudite treatment of relevant historical and philosophical works, travel literature, and geographic literature. . . . [T]here is no denying the extremely original, valuable and challenging nature of this work.---Tim Murphy, European Legacy