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Ruth Benedict: Stranger in This Land (American Studies) Hardcover – January, 1989

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Ruth Benedict's Patterns of Culture is still widely read, but how many readers are aware that this anthropologist was also a modernist poet, part of the Lyricist circle that included Elinor Wylie, Edna St. Vincent Millay and Louise Bogan? How many know that she considered herself a feminist, convinced of the need to do away with the "dead rubbish of conventionalism" surrounding women? In this impassioned, masterful biography, Caffrey, assistant professor of history at Memphis State University, treats Benedict's life as an exhilarating intellectual adventure. An emotionally withdrawn farm girl who suffered from attacks of vomiting and partial deafness, Benedict blossomed under her academic mentor Franz Boas. As her marriage to controlling, strong-willed Stanley Benedict withered, she became a close friend, then lover, of Margaret Mead. Her disillusionment with Judeo-Christianity, her study of myths as collective wish-fulfillment and her rejection of Victorian prudery all found expression in her cultural relativism.
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

Caffrey, a historian, explores in meticulous detail the life of the renowned anthropologist, best known for her book Patterns of Culture . With access to the recently opened Margaret Mead papers, she enlarges upon Judith Modell's Ruth Benedict: Patterns of a Life (LJ 5/1/83), reconstructing Benedict's relationship with her colleague and friend Mead with skill and sensitivity. Caffrey interprets Benedict in the light of cultural feminism, ". . . a feminism . . . focused on changing the values and beliefs that make up the framework of a culture . . . ." With admirable attention to the social and intellectual forces that had impact on Benedict's life, Caffrey portrays her as one of the most influential women of her time. This biography, which tells the fascinating story of a complex women who was a poet as well as a scholar, also serves as a fine study of American thought during the first half of the 20th century. For scholars and laypersons.
- Joan W. Gartland, Detroit P.L.
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Product Details

  • Series: American Studies
  • Hardcover: 448 pages
  • Publisher: University of Texas Press; 1st edition (January 1989)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0292746555
  • ISBN-13: 978-0292746558
  • Product Dimensions: 9.5 x 6.4 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.9 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,463,748 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By Shirley Lendway on August 20, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Although she was also a Lyricist poet, Ruth Benedict, an anthropologist, is best known for her book, "Patterns of Culture." This study about her, "Ruth Benedict: Stranger in this Land," can be described as the documentation of one woman's decision to see her self-discovery as a basis to explore mankind and to carve out a niche for her convictions in a way that benefited society. It is encouraging to others because it covers a positive example of what can happen when someone uses childhood experiences as an inspiration for breaking the mold of a society when it seeks to constrain. Ruth Benedict emerges as a true heroine.
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