Barbecued Husbands

Overview

The indigenous tribes of the Brazilian rainforests are on the verge of extinction. It was feared that the narratives which had sustained them over centuries might die with them. Betty Mindlin was determined to record these legends and the result is a startling piece of anthropology. Mindlin, inspired by the work of Claude Levi-Strauss, has shown that what often appears to be the creation of a fantastical, isolated imagination is just a fragment, part of a much larger whole.

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Overview

The indigenous tribes of the Brazilian rainforests are on the verge of extinction. It was feared that the narratives which had sustained them over centuries might die with them. Betty Mindlin was determined to record these legends and the result is a startling piece of anthropology. Mindlin, inspired by the work of Claude Levi-Strauss, has shown that what often appears to be the creation of a fantastical, isolated imagination is just a fragment, part of a much larger whole.

The stories recounted in Barbecued Husbands are as old as humanity: love and hate, jealousy and revenge, life after death, totems and taboos, erotic solitude, romantic love, mothers and daughters, masculinity. All this is discussed with an openness that would surprise a Western psychoanalyst. Most of the stories were narrated by tribespeople in their own languages and the translations were carefully checked with them before they appeared in print. The collaboration between the author and the narrator is close throughout, making this book a unique document and an important reference work. Reading like a novel, this is an oral history suffused with magic realism.

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Editorial Reviews

Claude Levi-Strauss
“A rich mythology has been gathered from peoples about whom we know nothing … an impressive collection that will rank among the great classics of Amerindian mythology. I enjoyed it very much.”
From the Publisher
“A rich mythology has been gathered from peoples about whom we know nothing ... an impressive collection that will rank among the great classics of Amerindian mythology. I enjoyed it very much.”—Claude Levi-Strauss
Claude Levi-Strauss
An impressive collection that will rank among the great classics of Amerindian mythology. I enjoyed it very much.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781859846810
  • Publisher: Verso Books
  • Publication date: 10/6/2002
  • Pages: 320
  • Product dimensions: 6.30 (w) x 8.30 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Betty Mindlin is an anthropologist living in Brazil. She helped to found the Institute of Anthropology and Meio Ambiente-IAMA (Institute of Anthropology and the Environment). Barbecued Husbands and Pregnant Earth have become best-selling classics of contemporary anthropology in Brazil.
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Table of Contents

Introduction 1
Macurap 7
Botxatonia, the Women of the Rainbow 9
The ghost lover and the girl with the giant clitoris 14
Akake, a groom with three cocks 19
The koman song (the frog song), or the women who barbecued and devoured their husbands 30
The women without men, the Amazons, the Kaledjaa-Ipeb, the black women 37
The great snake, awanda, the boa constrictor 48
Akarandek, the flying head, or the ravenous wife 54
The unlucky hunter, or the tree-lover 57
The Txopokod's balls, the ashes of the invisible 59
When children were born from their mothers' toenails 62
The Pleiades, Watxuri 64
The prick made of muiratinga wood and the frog, paapap 66
Menstruation, the sibling lovers, the moon, and genipap 68
The Tapir's wife 70
The Txopokod orphan 74
The offended wife, the flight to a macaw husband, and the height of Brazil nut trees 78
The woman who made love to her son-in-law 83
Wakotutxe pio, the mutilated lover 86
Peniom and the winged bride 88
Piron, the Blue Tinamou 91
Tupari 95
Pawatu, the headhunters 97
The Pawatu massacre the Tupari 102
Akia, the Tupari woman who was mutilated by the Pawatu 105
Piripidpit, the maiden whom the men devoured 107
Independence and torture 110
The men's menstruation 111
Kempai, the woman with only one breast 113
The clay woman 116
The ghost baby's nanny 119
The young woman who took a ghost/epaitsit lover 123
The old woman who ate young boys 125
The Cobra-cega's lover 127
The clay pecker 128
The king vulture's rival, or the crazy horny girl 130
The Cabure and the Musician Wren, or the deceived bride 134
The dead husband 138
The man with the long cock 141
Ajuru 143
The moon 145
The brother and sister raised by the jaguar 148
The enchanted girl 151
The snake-husband 154
The gluttonous wife 156
Tororoi, the frog 158
Nanguereta, the flying head 160
The greedy wife 163
Jabuti 167
Watirinoti, the fox of olden times, or the revenge 169
Kero-opeho, the castrated man, the man who turned into a woman 181
Djikontxero, the flying head 183
Tiwawa, the evening star and Kurawatin-ine, the morning star, or the brother-in-law's lover 188
Nerute Upahe 191
Nekohon, the Pico-de-jaca snake husband 195
Pakuredjerui aone, the men who ate their own shit, or the men without women 197
Bedjabzia, the master of the wasps 200
Berewekoronti, the cruel husband, and the unfaithful wives 203
The Tapir 208
Arikapu 211
Pakukawa Djeparia, the Macucao bird 213
The woman-pot 215
The woman who made love to a stick, and the land turtle husband 217
The Tapir, Namwu Hoa, or the men without women 220
Arua 223
Wanzei warande, the women who went away 225
The white anthill 233
The severed head 234
The monkey 236
The queen of the bees 239
Zakorobkap, the fly 242
Djape, the arrowhead, the man who ate his wives 244
Serek-A, the mermaid 249
Love in the indigenous mythology of Rondonia: an anthology 253
A commentary on Barbecued Husbands 253
Seduction 262
The eternal battle of the sexes 264
The Amazons: women without men 267
Women and excess 270
The dead husband 274
Dead before death 274
Passion and transgression 275
Bibliography 281
Profiles of the narrators and translators 285
The six indigenous peoples of the narrators 297
The narrators' languages 300
The language and style of the narratives 301
Translator's note: sex and translation 304
Glossary 305
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