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Enigma Variations
     

Enigma Variations

by Richard Price (2), Sally Price
 

Noted writers on art, culture, and the tropical Americas, Richard and Sally Price have crafted a mystery at the intersections of art and anthropology. Drawing readers into their quest for a solution, they build an unusual partnership between text and pictures, daringly expanding the possibilities of academic discourse. Enigma Variations--in the tradition of

Overview


Noted writers on art, culture, and the tropical Americas, Richard and Sally Price have crafted a mystery at the intersections of art and anthropology. Drawing readers into their quest for a solution, they build an unusual partnership between text and pictures, daringly expanding the possibilities of academic discourse. Enigma Variations--in the tradition of The Recognitions and The Crying of Lot 49--is an entertainment as readable for its intellectual power as for its irresistible drama.

Editorial Reviews

Wall Street Journal
A fabulous and unique artifact, an art-historical whodunit told with great flair, intelligence, and sensitivity. Like the art it tells us so much about, Enigma Variations is a hybrid work that keeps tempting you to read it as fact although it is officially labeled fiction...For the reader, puzzling out which is which is part of the enigmatic charm of the Prices' book--a novel based on the authors' anthropological experiences. The Prices certainly have the great novelist's ability to breathe life into the people they invent--and also, it appears, to breathe life into the living.
— Raymond Sokolov
African Arts
Enigma Variations, an allegorical novella, is a true gem...[T]he promise of literary ethnography is fulfilled...in Enigma Variations: to educate and, just as a lark, to entertain.
— Bennetta Jules-Rosette
Journal of American Folklore
What is authentic? Where do we draw the lines? In this unusual, distinctive, and very engaging work, Richard Price and Sally Price show that the elusive answer to these questions is less cut and dried than we might think.
— Elizabeth Wein
Art New England
A genre-busting meditation on the nature of genre-busting...One might even say the mask of mystery and steamy tropical adventure this book wears is exactly the right outfit for approaching the question of what is and what is not art today--whether in the humid workshops of the Amazon or in the galleries of SoHo.
— Harvey Blume
Museum Anthropology
Strikingly well crafted...A useful account of the social and commercial processes whereby art objects are 'authenticated,' and of the roles scholars play in those processes. The theoretical arguments raised by the novel (concerning the epistemological status of 'real' versus 'fake' objects) are not new, but Enigma Variations will give readers a three-dimensional sense of the intellectual and social work that goes into establishing the status of particular objects. Enigma Variations is, in short, a tour de force--and lots of fun.
— Richard Handler,
Wall Street Journal - Raymond Sokolov
A fabulous and unique artifact, an art-historical whodunit told with great flair, intelligence, and sensitivity. Like the art it tells us so much about, Enigma Variations is a hybrid work that keeps tempting you to read it as fact although it is officially labeled fiction...For the reader, puzzling out which is which is part of the enigmatic charm of the Prices' book--a novel based on the authors' anthropological experiences. The Prices certainly have the great novelist's ability to breathe life into the people they invent--and also, it appears, to breathe life into the living.
Art New England - Harvey Blume
A genre-busting meditation on the nature of genre-busting...One might even say the mask of mystery and steamy tropical adventure this book wears is exactly the right outfit for approaching the question of what is and what is not art today--whether in the humid workshops of the Amazon or in the galleries of SoHo.
Museum Anthropology - Richard Handler
Strikingly well crafted...A useful account of the social and commercial processes whereby art objects are 'authenticated,' and of the roles scholars play in those processes. The theoretical arguments raised by the novel (concerning the epistemological status of 'real' versus 'fake' objects) are not new, but Enigma Variations will give readers a three-dimensional sense of the intellectual and social work that goes into establishing the status of particular objects. Enigma Variations is, in short, a tour de force--and lots of fun.
African Arts - Bennetta Jules-Rosette
Enigma Variations, an allegorical novella, is a true gem...[T]he promise of literary ethnography is fulfilled...in Enigma Variations: to educate and, just as a lark, to entertain.
Journal of American Folklore - Elizabeth Wein
What is authentic? Where do we draw the lines? In this unusual, distinctive, and very engaging work, Richard Price and Sally Price show that the elusive answer to these questions is less cut and dried than we might think.
George Lamming
A rare combination of scholarly passion and an exuberant narrative skill...Every page startles with some new revelation.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780674257269
Publisher:
Harvard University Press
Publication date:
06/28/1998
Pages:
176
Product dimensions:
6.19(w) x 9.23(h) x 0.63(d)

What People are Saying About This

A rare combination of scholarly passion and an exuberant narrative skill...Every page startles with some new revelation.
George Lamming
A rare combination of scholarly passion and an exuberant narrative skill...Every page startles with some new revelation.

Meet the Author

Richard Price is Dittman Professor of American Studies and Professor of Anthropology and History at College of William and Mary in Virginia.

Sally Price is Dittman Professor of American Studies and Professor of Anthropology at College of William and Mary in Virginia.

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