The seat of the soul is where the inner world and the outer world meet. Where they overlap, it is in every point of the overlap. - Novalis

Friday, November 19, 2010

Patron Saint of the Beats

Jaime De Angulo (also here) arranged C.G. Jung's 1924 trip to New Mexico, as we learn from one of the most interesting sections of Shamdasani's Jung and the Making of Modern Psychology (317-328).

His poetry has recently been published as Home Among the Swinging Stars: Collected Poems of Jaime De Angulo, La Alameda Press, 2006.

From La Alameda Press: "Jaime de Angulo (1887-1950) was born in Paris of Spanish parents. He came to America in 1905, found work as a cowboy and ended up in San Francisco the day before the Great Earthquake in 1906. A picaresque life followed as a homesteader in Big Sur, medical doctor, psychologist, renowned linguist, and novelist. As a linguist, de Angulo contributed to the knowledge of many Northern Californian languages, as well ethnomusicological investigations. He lived among the tribes he studied and tried to become integrated into their daily lives. Much of his life and work exemplifies his recognition of the trickster wisdom in their native “coyote tales.” Invited by Mabel Dodge Luhan to visit Taos, he turned out to be a vivid chapter in her artistic circle. Brilliant and eccentric, Ezra Pound called him "the American Ovid." Bohemian to the core, he was friend and colleague to poets, composers, and scholars such as Harry Partch, Henry Miller, Robinson Jeffers, Henry Cowell, Franz Boas, Carl Jung, D.H. Lawrence, and many others. Renderings of Pit River lore in his book Indian Tales had a distinct influence on Beat literature, especially Gary Snyder and Jack Kerouac. Besides prose, there exists an abundance of poetry which is collected in Home Among the Swinging Stars and includes the out-of-print Coyote’s Bones, versions of Shaman Songs, translations of Federico Garcia Lorca, and unpublished poems."

And a number of books by and about him are still available - see this amazon page.

Also of more than passing interest is this, which looks to be very much worth reading:



Rolling in Ditches with Shamans: Jaime de Angulo and the Professionalization of American Anthropology, Wendy Leeds-Hurwitz, 2005.

From the Publisher: Rolling in Ditches with Shamans charts American anthropology in the 1920s through the life and work of one of the amateur scholars of the time, Jaime de Angulo (1887–1950). Although he earned a medical degree, de Angulo chose to live on an isolated ranch in Big Sur, California, where he participated fully in the lives of the people who were his ethnographic informants. The period of his most extensive research coincides almost perfectly with the professionalization of anthropology, and de Angulo provides a link between those who are generally recognized as the most important figures of the day: Franz Boas, Alfred Kroeber, and Edward Sapir.

The fields of salvage ethnography and linguistics, which Boas emphasized, were aimed at recording the culture, language, and myths of the Native groups before they became completely acculturated. In keeping with these dictates, de Angulo recorded data from thirty groups, mostly in California, which otherwise might have been lost. In an unusual move for that time, he also wrote fiction and poetry describing the modern lives of the people he studied, something of little interest to Boas but of great interest today. His most enduring work is Indian Tales, a fictional synthesis of myths learned from various California Indians. De Angulo’s range of interests, originality, and expertise exemplified the curiosity and brilliance of those who pioneered American anthropology at this time.

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