Wax and Gold: Tradition and Innovation in Ethiopian Culture

Wax and Gold: Tradition and Innovation in Ethiopian Culture

by Donald Nathan Levine
     
 

In Abyssinian poetry, the “wax” is the obvious meaning, the “gold” is the hidden meaning. In Wax and Gold, Donald N. Levine explores mid-to-late-twentieth-century Ethiopian society on the same two levels, using modern sociology and psychology to seek answers to the following questions: What is the nature of the traditional

Overview


In Abyssinian poetry, the “wax” is the obvious meaning, the “gold” is the hidden meaning. In Wax and Gold, Donald N. Levine explores mid-to-late-twentieth-century Ethiopian society on the same two levels, using modern sociology and psychology to seek answers to the following questions: What is the nature of the traditional culture of the dominant ethnic group, the Amhara, and what are its enduring values? What aspects of modern culture interest this society and by what means has it sought to institutionalize them? How has tradition both facilitated and hampered Ethiopian efforts to modernize? Enriched by the use of Ethiopian literature and by Levine’s deep knowledge of and affection for the society of which he writes, Wax and Gold is both a scholarly and a personal work.

Editorial Reviews

New Yorker

“A superb book.”
Times Literary Supplement

“Ethiopia’s abiding problem is the symbiosis of her autochthonous civilization with the demands of an uncompromising modern world. . . . Nobody has yet described the dilemma, its origin, its magnitude and possible ways of resolving it with greater ability and understanding.”
Chicago Tribune

“Both a sociological work and an entertaining travel narrative.”
American Journal of Sociology

“An important, insightful, and excellent book. . . . With remarkable freedom, virtuosity, and success [Levine] forays from his own base as a sociologist into the domains of anthropologists, psychologists, historians, and linguists.”
American Sociological Review

“Levine performs the most ancient scholarly task well, that of the sage, who leads us to see the eternal wisdom hidden behind the veil of everyday concerns.”

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780226475639
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
Publication date:
01/01/1972
Pages:
315

Meet the Author


Donald N. Levine is the Peter B. Ritzma Professor of Sociology at the University of Chicago, where he served as dean of the College from 1982 to 1987. He is the author of several books, including Greater Ethiopia: The Evolution of a Multiethnic Society and Powers of the Mind: The Reinvention of Liberal Learning in America, both published by the University of Chicago Press.

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