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Flash of the Spirit: African & Afro-American Art & Philosophy Paperback – August 12, 1984
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This landmark book shows how five African civilizations -- Yoruba, Kongo, Ejagham, Mande and Cross River -- have informed and are reflected in the aesthetic, social and metaphysical traditions (music, sculpture, textiles, architecture, religion, idiogrammatic writing) of black people in the United States, Cuba, Haiti, Trinidad, Mexico, Brazil and other places in the New World.
"A wonderfully enthusiastic book...Mr. Thompson is a professor of art history, but he takes his subject in the round, not in any specialized or compartmentalized manner. He is part anthropologist, part art critic, part musicologist, part student of religion and philosophy, and entirely an enthusiastic partisan of what he writes about."
-- The New York Times Book Review
"Centuries of racist assumptions go packing it in Flash of the Spirit." -- The Village Voice
"This is art history to dance by." -- The Philadelphia Inquirer
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Top Customer Reviews
FLASH OF THE SPIRIT examines on a closer, more intimate level the cultural significance of the gods and goddesses depicted in mythology and art of those who are practitioners of (among other religions) Yoruba, Santeria and Voodoo faiths. We see beautiful and powerful illustrations and photographs of the jewelry, textiles, plates and figurines used in worship, and we also get insight into the characteristics of the gods and goddesses, their meaning in the lives of those who pray to them, and how this plays into other parts of society, human interaction and behavior. I come away from this book feeling that we are lot closer than we think, and that while "African-American" and "African" are important distinctions to recognize in terms of cultural definition, they are also at times parallel and quite similar to the indigenous Native cultures of South and Central America, as well as other parts of the world. This is fascinating material and Farris Thompson's writing style is pure poetry. I guarantee that once you start reading this book, you won't be able to put it down.
This put a new twists on things, but made me look at life from a different perspective, as the author discuss the origin of the term funky and jazz. As well as elaborate on various African American cultural expressions like the ones demonstrated in the Supremes' movements "Stop" and "Talk to the hand" that all seem to come from this region.
This book was a real treat and a true classic, that you will enjoy for years to come.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
It took me a very long time to come across this book, but I am very happy that I did. It is refreshing to read someone who obviously has a respect for African culture write about... Read morePublished 23 days ago by delightfulflame
Grounbreaking! African American Art and Culture 101. A must read.Published 18 months ago by T. Pena
I rated "Flash of the Spirit" five star because the author's research flys in the face of the conventional wisdom that black minds went blank during four hundred years of... Read morePublished on October 21, 2013 by Louis B. Burroughs
It's a cryin' shame that the Kindle edition has such poor images. The text is vibrant, the images almost black to the point of mush. Read morePublished on September 14, 2013 by Mark Coffey
growing up my dad had this in his collection... i've always wanted to read it. great condition. very intellectual read. i've recommended it to a few friends.Published on March 5, 2013 by Ade Fun Mi
A very good resource on African religious practices that continued in the Americas when Africans were brought to the Americas and the Carribean Islands during slavery. Read morePublished on March 9, 2012 by E. N. Gamble
I concur one hundred percent with the review of Stephanie Rose Bird "conjurer2" (Chicago, IL.In this age where paganism is a bad word, the research of courageous minds like Dr. Read morePublished on August 10, 2011 by karen hanlon