The Lure of the Primitive

  • Máiréad Nic CraithEmail author
Part of the Palgrave Studies in Literary Anthropology book series (PSLA)


Salvage ethnography is commonly associated with Franz Boas and his US colleagues, who engaged in a quest to collect the languages and the lore of “vanishing” Indian tribes. In this chapter, Nic Craith explores the exo-nostalgia that prevailed in the field of anthropology a century ago. This nostalgia was hardly confined to anthropologists, who were intrigued by “vanishing races” in the US, and some Harvard anthropologists came to Ireland in the 1930s. Many European folklorists and linguists, such as Carl Marstrander, Robin Flower, Brian O Ceallaigh or Marie-Louise Sjoestedt, followed in their footsteps to research the folklore and language of a disappearing way of life.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Heriot-Watt UniversityEdinburghUK

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