The art of conviviality

This work is licensed under the Creative Commons | © Andrew Brandel. ISSN 2049-1115 (Online). DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.14318/hau6.2.020


The art of conviviality

Andrew BRANDEL, Institute for Human Sciences

This essay proposes a conception of anthropology as a romantic science concerned with what Lévi-Strauss called a posteriori logics. I shift our attention from disagreements in conceptual knowledge to conditions of possible experience—that is, to the grounds of the emergence of concepts in life together, com vivere. Such conviviality, I suggest, offers to us another way to understand the work of ethnography as a sensibility through which we place our own logics at risk. This picture of anthropological thought, moreover, demands that we reimagine the contours of the history of the field, remaining open to what might count as or for anthropology.

Keywords: History of anthropology, Lévi-Strauss, Novalis, romanticism, aesthetics

To be one with all that lives! With these words virtue removes its
wrathful armor, the spirit of man lays its scepter aside and all
thoughts vanish before the image of the world’s eternal unity, just as
the rules of the struggling artist vanish before his Urania
. —Hölderlin

Thus Hyperion writes to Bellarmin, lamenting both his exile and his schooling, the pursuit of knowledge having left him a stranger before nature. “Oh, man is . . . a beggar when he thinks.” When Bellarmin asks his friend to recall his youth, Hyperion replies, “When I was still a serene child, and knew nothing of all that surrounds us, was I not then more than I am, after all . . . the reflection and struggle?” But as much as Hyperior’s words and Grecian hermitage capture a theoretical longing for an ancient and natural order of things, Hölderlin’s protagonist is never so far at remove from the trappings of human life among others, open to contestation within various registers of intimacy, as itself an engine of thought. His is a love affair, not with solitude but with underlying agreements. A string of passionate encounters ensues, what Paul de Man calls “a series of initiations”; first as a student, then a friend, and later a lover. In the first instance, he meets the knowledge of his day and rapidly rises above it. In a second, with Alabanda but also Bellarmin, we find the [324]force of friendship: “it is the specific mood of innocent man to be a ‘friend’ of nature . . . in a powerfully spontaneous way. In a friendship between men this feeling prevails in its purest form. Friendship is unity, and beyond that, it is conversation (Gespräch) within the sphere of unity, the worldly equivalence of the conversation between the gods and the child that was at the beginning of things” (de Man 1956: 32–33). In love, he writes, we reach the experience of this unity.

In the figure of Hyperion’s initiations, we encounter an imagination of what it means to live and to think together, across multiple registers. It is a description at once familiar to the anthropologist, of thought grounded in conviviality, in life lived with others with whom we share an intimacy that allows our forms of thought, the very conditions of our experience of the world, to be challenged. Life with those who offer not only competing answers to our questions but also competing questions.1 If, as Claude Lévi-Strauss suggested, anthropology consists in the pursuit of a posteriori logics, I understand ethnography to be the sensibility through which we arrive at their shore, in the ways we live with others, in human bodies, in spirits, or in their words. Dialectically we produce knowledge, gather up of descriptions of states of affairs, kinship terms, modes of production and consumption, superstitions, rituals—concepts are produced and contested. But by means of this knowledge, our world and the logics that order it are transformed; we arrive we hope, he says, at some measure of wisdom. It strikes at the very heart of the transformations in Lévi-Strauss’ own thinking, as he lived among the structures of Murngin kinship and Kariera totems, with Bororo myths and Swaihwe masks. We encounter others, as Heidegger taught us, not only in their immediate presence to us but also in our involvement in a world we share, in which we live with, com vivere, the products of their collective (un)consciousness, their words, or their art. Life after all is not lived in the company of embodied humans alone but also among texts.

We risk ourselves in engaging, moreover, not only new ideas but also new forms of thought. Lévi-Strauss calls this the condition of the anthropologist (see also Brandel 2015) a vocational narrative often chided as heroic but that, upon deeper inspection, reflects the fragility of the ethnographer who stands to learn from the world and not just about it, and who, in so doing, has sacrificed not only the surety of her own convictions, even their very foundations. It is a way of thinking and living ever struggling to find a footing in the world, ever on the move. “Ethnographic experience,” Lévi-Strauss once said, “is an experimental form of research on something which escapes you” ([1991] 1998: 168).

This essay is an attempt to consider the epistemic and existential stakes of this picture of anthropological thought by tracing its expression in the development of Lévi-Strauss’ oeuvre, and in the conviviality (Geselligkeit) of the early German [325]romantics (Frühromantiker), gathered together in drawing rooms of Jena two centuries ago. This collective of writers and philosophers, translators, and naturalists, collaboratively authored an alternative reception of the Copernican Revolution, drew foreign philosophical thought and artistic forms into the German tradition at a time when Hegel dismissed the world, and brought scientific and poetic experimentation together to the betterment of both. I draw them together here through their respective attempts to affirm a Kantian legacy, while demanding it be made to reconcile with the force of the world in which we live among others, to transform even the grounds of subjective experience. Through a conception of anthropology as a romantic science, we arrive at a notion of conviviality, which, on the basis of knowledge, makes possible a more existential transformation of the conditions of that knowledge. Rather than trace a genealogy of inheritances and resistances through Rousseau or Hegel, however, I engage them in the register of a romantic ethnography, as those among whom I myself live. If ethnography invites instruction from the world, such conviviality also transforms our thanking about anthropology, much as Victor Turner learned from Muchona the Hornet, or Sidney Mintz from Don Taso. In this way, we do not know beforehand what counts as or for anthropology. And if anthropological thought is thus fragmentary, ever striving, constantly upended by life, then we must rethink the ways we tell the stories of our discipline and approach that history likewise in an ethnographic mode—not through an account of the lives of others but by living with them and allowing them to mark us.

In recent years, Alain Caillé (2009, 2000; Adloff 2016) has turned sociological theory toward the language of conviviality as an ideal expression of a social organization built upon the Maussian gift; that is, on exchange that is simultaneously self-interested and altruistic, dutiful, and spontaneous. From city streets, it has been evoked as “radical” formulation invoking difference with an encompassing ethical horizon and without falling into communitarianism, or the insidious politics of integration and multiculturalism once popular in European discourses (Valluvan 2016). Anthropology, on the other hand, has been drawn to local conceptions and practices of conviviality, ranging from the “amelioration” of difference as a response to ubiquitous state violence in Johannesburg (Vigneswaran 2014), to the fragility of negotiation and translation in the register of everyday life of neighborhoods in Catalonia and Casmance (Heil 2014), and in the Amazon as an “aesthetics of community” encompassing and exceeding European categories opposition, an unfolding play between constructive and destructive forces (Overing and Passes 2000). One finds in these accounts echoes of classical anthropological definitions of hospitality, from Lewis Henry Morgan’s ([1881] 2003) “communistic living” and Marcel Mauss’ (1923) preconditions of the receipt of the gift. By the same token, efforts to transform the trope of hospitality through a recuperation of Augustus Pitt-Rivers’ figure of the stranger has revealed how rather than merely holding the threat of otherness in abeyance, such spaces are also essentially transformative (Candea and da Col 2012).

Yet as Lévi-Strauss’ critique of Mauss reveals, there is another register that makes the hospitality to the thought of others possible but that is also restructured in light of that encounter. It is into this space that I think reading Lévi-Strauss alongside [326]romanticism becomes especially productive.2 Together, I will argue, they allow us to trouble our assumptions about who is the subject of anthropological thought, through the language of art. The Jena circle inaugurated a call for an intellectual and spiritual collaboration not merely as joyous agreement, nor as an overcoming of difference (or otherwise spectacularly transcending the distance to the mind and world of the other) but as a waiting in moments of resistance. This was the project of Sympoesie and Symphilosophie, a motif for a “new epoch of science and art,” defined by the “merger” of individuals (Individuen zu verschmelzen), and the generation of “fantastic combinations.” It is borne from an intimacy that can bear disagreement, and works not only at the level of conceptual difference but on the conditions of our experience. Conviviality, then, as resource for the poetic remaking of the world. This poetics gives us a way of critically waiting in such tension, neither resolving nor abandoning, an insistence on the merging life—and therefore the sciences that examine it—with art.

The skillful means of a poetic disposition

For Lévi-Strauss the relationship between anthropological knowledge and wisdom rests on the specialness of our object of inquiry. It is not just possible but essential, he writes, to “postulate that, when we uncover a deep structure, there will be an even deeper, and yet another deeper after that” (Lévi-Strauss 2014). My thinking about the nature of such wisdom begins with Lévi-Strauss’ reply to Paul Ricoeur’s (1963) charge of structuralism’s latent Kantianism. If the pursuit of social structure takes as its guide the “constraining structure of the human mind,” then structuralism proceeds in what Lévi-Strauss himself calls the “manner of Kantian philosophy.” Yet, “unlike the philosopher,” the anthropologist does not begin from the constraints of his own thought, or “the science peculiar to his society and his period, as a fundamental subject of reflection in order to extend these local findings into a form of understanding, the universality of which can never be more than hypothetical and potential” (Lévi-Strauss 1969: 10). The anthropologist is attuned to “empirically collective forms of understanding, whose properties have been solidified . . . in countless concrete representational systems.” (1969: 11) The [327]transcendental philosopher examines the conditions of possibility of experience in general beginning from her own.

It is this argument with which Ricoeur takes issue, calling structuralism “Kantianism without a transcendental subject”—a label Lévi-Strauss is happy to accept. It is “an inevitable consequence, on the philosophical level, of the ethnographic approach [he has] chosen; [his] ambition being to discover the conditions in which systems of truths become mutually convertible and therefore simultaneously acceptable to several different subjects, the pattern of those conditions takes on the character of an autonomous object, independent of any subject” (Lévi-Strauss 1969: 11). Thus when he speaks elsewhere of “a posteriori necessity” in relation to the possibility of a logic (say, of totemic classification) the grounds of which are utterly contingent, he notes an apparent paradox of using a language that connotes, as philosophy likes to say, a truth everywhere and in every case, to connect terms themselves not intended to fulfill this function. Lévi-Strauss provides two resolutions: 1) a posteriori logics only appear impossible with regard to history and not within the coherence of the system wherein they are manifest and 2) neither the images of myth nor the material of the bricoleur are “products of ‘becoming’” but rather “condensed expressions of necessary relations which impose constraints with various repercussions at each stage of their employment” (Lévi-Strauss 1966: 36).

For Lévi-Strauss, anthropology pursues how “systems of truths,” collective forms of understanding, become “acceptable” to multiple subjects. “Time” and “space” as concepts within systems of representations (not as pure judgments, a distinction that eludes Durkheim’s use of the language of categories of the understanding) do not bear the burden of transcendental correspondence to particular objects—between Kant and Hume, they are subject to deductions that are at once empirical and necessary. The anthropologist does not start from a transcendental subject because her inquiry begins between them, in their mutual participation in a conceptual network, under a posteriori conditions that are nevertheless determinate of the possibilities for empirical concepts. He says, by way of critique of Rousseau’s political philosophy (and his reasons for moving away from it), that the Social Contract similarly posits a “direct relationship between individual and collectivity . . . for me, it is these intermediaries (between the two) that gives social life its flesh and blood” ([1991] 1998: 169). The difference highlights a point Lévi-Strauss makes elsewhere, regarding the depth wherein structure resides. It is worth recalling that in Structural anthropology, he returns to Franz Boas’ distinction between the unconscious and the conscious precisely to reveal this shortcoming of Durkheim’s and Mauss’ sociological method in beginning from the “native categories of thought.” Important as conscious models of systems of representation may be, they are “just as remote from the unconscious reality as any other” (Lévi-Strauss 1967: 245–46). Ino Rossi (1973) has argued that for Lévi-Strauss, anthropology borrowed from Kant an investment in the structure of experience, but from Mauss a conviction that social and mental substrates thereof were likewise sites of conditions of possible experience.

Lévi-Strauss’ view, then, is that we proceed in a Kantian spirit, insofar as he is likewise in pursuit of logics, only empirical ones (a variation perhaps of what Kant called general but applied logic) rather than pure elementary logic. Kant ([1787] 1901: B78) [328]distinguishes general from particular uses of the understanding, the first containing the absolutely necessary rules of thought and the second constituted by rules for thinking about this or that object, hence as the organon of particular sciences. Within general logic, pure logic pertains to a priori principles and thus makes up the canon of the understanding and reason, while applied logic is “merely a cathartic of common understanding.” Anthropology becomes a necessary partner to philosophy in the elaboration of human knowledge—a view that Kant himself might, if in some other fashion, endorse—as the science of a posteriori necessities within empirical systems of truths. We then understand Lévi-Strauss’ critiques of Sartre’s claim of a de jure or absolute difference between dialectical and analytic reason, and its replacement with a conception of the dialectic in addition, as the “necessary condition for (analytical reason) to venture to undertake the resolution of the human into the non-human” (Lévi-Strauss 1967: 246). The difference between the two is relative; dialectical reason is constitutive insofar as it is the “bridge” that analytical reason “throws out over the abyss,” and as such is the gesture by which analytic reason reforms itself in the face of the social world.

The progress of ethnographic analysis is not (as in Rousseau) with the dissolution of differences between systems but with the “reintegration of culture in nature” (Lévi-Strauss 1967: 247). The distinction of an order of inquiry then marks out anthropology as the “principle of research” to this end, precisely because philosophical inquiry makes one a “prisoner of his own Cogito.” Sartre’s “socializing” of the Cogito, “merely exchanges one prison for another” (Lévi-Strauss 1967). Or put another way, Sartre’s move trades in the possibility of a science of man for a science of men. It is for this reason that Lévi-Strauss elsewhere calls Rousseau of the Discourse the founder of the human sciences (and specifically ethnology), and not, say, Descartes, for we are liberated from the prison of the egoism by our methodology, and our radical risking of ourselves qua the other (Lévi-Strauss 1976: 34).

Rather than invert a hierarchy established by Sartre regarding two different ways to approach the world (through their contradictory temporalities), Lévi-Strauss puts them on equal footing. On Lévi-Strauss’ reading of Sartre, dialectical reason is at risk of being “carried away by its own elan”; but even more, we must avoid too that “the procedure leading to the comprehension of an other reality attribute to it, in addition to its own dialectical features, those appertaining to the procedure rather than to the object.” Thus, not “all knowledge of others is dialectical.” Sartre’s mistake is in thinking of our knowledge of the other as standing in dialectical relation to their thought. Lévi-Strauss claims Sartre’s language of a progress-regressive method thereby for anthropology, but doubles it. First we observe, we analyze our data, we put these ethnographic observations into the context of whatsoever historical antecedents can be unearthed. But a second move is required on another plane, one in which analytical reason tries to ford the distance (determined in the first) to the “ever unforeseen complexity of this new object and the intellectual means at its disposal” (Lévi-Strauss 1966: 253). The new totality that is formed is then met with others, and little by little we accumulate mass, like the dualities of Caduveo body painting. At every step, such a procedure requires moreover that reason double back, to recall the totality that is both means and ends of the operation. In this way, analytical reason is said to account for dialectical, where the latter can account for neither itself nor its counterpart; dialectical reason then at end is [329]“only a reconstruction, by . . . analytical reason, of hypothetical moves about which it is impossible to know.” That is to say, dialectics involve a reconstruction of the history of consciousness, which, in Lévi-Strauss’ view, need not in reality contain the “truest” kernel of the matter, since superstructures do not progress and improve teleologically but rather reflect transformations of socially successful elements in the face of historical events.

Art: Or, how we come to a posteriori necessity

If we understand our object in terms of a posteriori necessities, taking them seriously cannot be limited to encountering them at a distance as intellectual objects but must instead find a way to ford the distance between the conditions of my experience and theirs. At the same time, we must avoid naïve notions of cultural relativism gone awry, the solipsism of “going native.” As Veena Das, Arthur Kleinman, Michael Jackson, and Bhrigupati Singh (2014) have shown through attention to the place of the Churinga in his thought, for Lévi-Strauss scientific and mythological patterns are mediated in the artistic mode. But this is not to suggest any expression is a pure form of one or the other pattern of thought; rather Lévi-Strauss’ conceptual figurations stand in dynamical and internal relation to one another, not as pure forms expressed by individuals. If myths are transformed through bricolage with a set of elements, the same set might be worked on simultaneously through poetic construction—but without recognizing the dynamism of these exchanges, we misrecognize the authorship, say of Oedipus or Antigone, or even Mythologiques, and ascribe to it a false character.

While relatively few commentaries exist on the relevance of art to Lévi-Strauss’ anthropology, those that have recently emerged have begun to reshape contemporary appreciation of the structural legacy, especially in relation to the artistic nature of anthropological thought itself. Boris Wiseman’s (2007) account of Mythologiques both as a treatise concerning aesthetic problems (especially creation) and as itself such a creation, as a “mytho-poem,” is exemplary of such a move. He reads Lévi-Strauss’ “scientificity” as marked likewise by an “aesthetic,” insofar as they “make manifest the hidden connections that link myths into a single whole and bring to light . . . necessity”3 (196). Claude Imbert (2009) takes another route, through Lévi-Strauss’ varied attempts at addressing a fundamental set of questions to a problem of anthropological knowledge: one related to the nature of structure, another to his fieldwork in the Mato Grosso, and a third to his inheritances of certain achievements of the Maussian-Durkheimian legacy. The ultimate “anthropological fact” of the peculiar weave of ethnological data and “anthropological configuration” revolves around the quest for the symbolic mediations of the subject and object, not “[propositionally] frozen in transcendentalism” but as a continuous flux between two points. This line of inquiry calls for artistic activity, as the meditational spur that allows us entry not only into the questions posed by fieldwork but also by those of the modern world. Thus, anthropology’s “scientific interest” moves away from the limiting demands for “concreteness” and “immediacy” and “towards the [330]production of intelligibility as an essential part of exchange and social life. The ethnographer turned anthropologist was summoned to detect an ongoing process of rationality, and its concomitant differentiation in contemporary times” (Imbert 2009: 136). I want to draw out this figuration of Lévi-Strauss’ work as evidence of a “philosophical mind” having become aware of its own suppleness vis-à-vis the world, and explore how we might think of such an “opening” of the mind as a scientific project.

Already at the Departure of Tristes Tropiques, Lévi-Strauss draws the return from the field into the writing of ethnography, to publication, to the “scrap(ing) clean of all this fungus.” By the time we receive the Apotheosis of Augustus, on our way back to France, we find the anthropological hero drenched in the micro-organismic debris of life with others. “The investigator eats his heart out in the exercise of his profession.” When the situation in the field deteriorates utterly, it becomes a “time, above all, of self-interrogation. . . . What is, in point of fact, an anthropological investigation?” He offers some preliminary suggestions. “Does it follow upon some . . . radical decision—one that calls in question the system within which one was born and has come to manhood” (Lévi-Strauss 1961: 374)? He finds in the desolation of his supremely immediate situation, his mind wandering back home before him on the tune of Chopin’s Etudes, op. 10. Hence Lévi-Strauss’ own surprising inversion—that one might shatter his or her ties to home only to find its true impression in a supposed radically other world. But we leave the detour of a play the anthropologist scribbled on paper in the western Mato Grosso to find we still have no answer to the “contradiction implicit in the circumstances of (the anthropologist’s) choice.” It was meant, he tells us, only to attest to the “disorder” of his mind in that moment of self-examination. Lévi-Strauss’ suggestion is that behind even the conformist anthropologist, some feeling of the inadequacy of, or detachment from, the home seems to prod him along “already . . . ‘half-way to meet’ societies unlike his own.” We move from objectivity at first “out of the question” in our society, where we from the start are implicated, to bringing another “under scrutiny” and in so doing “all is changed.” What had been “present to us as a moral dilemma, can now be a pretext for aesthetic contemplation” (Lévi-Strauss 1961: 382–83).

This detachment from transformations ongoing in our society leads to a startling discovery, “that certain civilizations . . . have known quite well how to best solve problems with which we are still struggling.”4 The dissatisfaction at home with a problem sets us out already on our journey to find another teacher, one who may well have had the best answer even centuries ago. Very subtly we have to come to a relativism that is nevertheless open to critique—in this way, it escapes both the erasure of meaningfulness and of authoritarian unthinking (the twin threats of skepticism-cum-solipsism and dogmatism). Eclecticism tempered with the capacity nevertheless for exclusion; epistemic pluralism that submits itself still to a principle of adjudication. Criticism, though never perfect, is ever bettered as the “field of investigation” grows. It is asymptotic and “truth” marks the zero incline. He asks, [331]“What, after all, have I learnt from the masters I have listened to, the philosophers I have read, the societies I have investigated, and that very Science in which the West takes such a pride? Simply a fragmentary lesson or two which, if laid end to end would reconstitute the meditations of the Sage at the foot of his tree” (Lévi-Strauss 1961: 294). The contradiction between critic and conformist, analysis of and enmeshment within conditions of experience, is also dissolved in the last moment, as we recognize there is there no conflict—it is their isolation that produces the appearance of distinction. It is a condition proper to “humanity as a whole and bears within itself the reason for its existence . . . or what is the use of action, if the thinking which guides that action leads to the discovery of the meaningless” (Lévi-Strauss 1961: 396). This resolution cannot be thought but must rather be felt. If there are many stages, “as in the Boddhi tree” or the system of philosophy, “they exist as a single whole,” and if we are to reach shore thereupon, “I shall be called upon continually to live through situations, each of which demands something of me, I owe myself to mankind, just as much as to knowledge. . . . Like the pebble which marks the surface of the wave with circles as it passes through it, I must throw myself into the water if I am to plumb the depths” (Lévi-Strauss 1961: 396).

Allow me to juxtapose the pictures of the world and thought Lévi-Strauss offers in the first volume of Mythologiques with the one he borrows from Boas in The Savage Mind: first, “myths signify the mind that evolves them by making use of the world of which it is itself a part” (Lévi-Strauss 1969: 341), and second, “it would seem that mythological worlds have been built up, only to be shattered again, and that the new worlds were built from the fragments,” which he amends to recognize the “continual reconstruction from the same materials” of thought, such that “the signified changes into the signifying and vice versa.”5 Where—the question seems to beg itself—might anthropological thought fall? Though the bricoleur works with those “messages” that have been disclosed in advanced, the scientist, “whether he is an engineer or a physicist” is always in pursuit of “that other message” (Lévi-Strauss 1967: 20). Lévi-Strauss writes in the Overture to The raw and the cooked, that such an ethnological study aims to “show how empirical categories . . . which can only be accurately defined by ethnographic observation and, in each instance, by adopting the standpoint of a particular culture—can nonetheless be used as conceptual tools with which to elaborate abstract ideas and combine them in the form of propositions” (Lévi-Strauss 1969: 1). And then at the very end, when having rehearsed the outcome of his mythographic study of the given dialectic, we are confronted with a problem of structural method; “for if the myths of a particular society admit of every kind of combination, the set as a whole becomes a nonredundant language; since all combinations are equally meaningful . . . in this case mythography would be reduced to a form of lallorhea” (Lévi-Strauss 1969: 333). Thankfully, this is the not case, if we follow three methodological rules. First, various iterations of a myth are “not all situated on the same level of mythological thought”; second, the capacity to fix the variables and their “relative degree of complex” means that versions can be arranged in a “logical order”; and finally, each iteration provides an “image of reality” such that, in our critical position, we are “able to replace the relation orders [332]we have already obtained by an absolute order” in terms of their ordinal degree of transformation from the “directly observed reality” (Lévi-Strauss 1969: 333–34).

The multiplicity of levels appears then as the price that mythic thought has to pay in order to move from the continuous to the discrete. It has to simplify and organize the diversity of empirical experience in accordance with the principle that no factor of diversity can be allowed to operate for its own purposes in the collective undertaking of signification, but only as the habitual or occasional substitute for the other elements included in the same set. Mythic thought only accepts nature on condition that it is able to reproduce it. (Lévi-Strauss 1969: 341)

“Art,” he writes, “lies half-way between scientific knowledge and mythical or magical thought” (Lévi-Strauss 1967: 22). The art-product, Kant’s work of genius,6 is both an “object of knowledge” and a “material object.” And if the scientist and the bricoleur represent inverse relations to the manifold of structure and event, ends and means, the artist seems to do both at once—“the painter is always mid-way between design and anecdote, and his genius consists in uniting internal and external knowledge, a ‘being’ and a ‘becoming,’ in producing with his brush an object which does not exist as such and which he is nevertheless able to create” (Lévi-Strauss 1967: 25). The artist’s creation is both a “material” object and an “object of knowledge.” If the scientist changes the world (effects events) by means of structures, and the bricoleur by means of events fashion structure, the artist works with a set of objects and events it then unifies “by revealing a common structure (26). Art thereby integrates structure and event, and attempts to communicate by means of it with either the model, the material, or the user (or future user). In this way, as to the relation to the object (or the product of the creative activity, more precisely) and the event, mythological thought and artistic production are likewise inverted. The balance that is struck in any case by these various arrangements, Lévi-Strauss warns, is easily tipped over.


The problem of the subject recurs, then, in relation to its capacity to remake the world through art. If we trace a genealogy from Lévi-Strauss to Jung to the romantic philosopher F. W. J. Schelling, we find the subject displaced however in art’s counterpart in mythology (Bowie 2003). Schelling regards ideas in the realm of mythology as the products of a “natural consciousness . . . left to its own devices,” distinct from the free action of the subject. Schelling’s compatriot A. W. Schlegel, is likewise interested not in the intentional activity of the subject but “the surrender to the other,” a return to another way of inhabiting the world. As we reach out to [333]touch reality, we find ourselves ever confronted by antimonies of reason, and so as we recognize the inadequacy of our thought to the world, Lévi-Strauss once said, we might begin to doubt even thought itself, and by extension ourselves. Nevertheless, guided by “several thousand years’ experience,” we are convinced of a middle ground, and “this is the level of scientific understanding, intellectual activity, and artistic creation” ([1991] 1998: 162). It is this sensibility in Lévi-Strauss that I am proposing romanticism helps us to clarify.

Schlegel’s notebooks of 1797–98 provide an analytical frame for the group at Jena: “The Romantic imperative calls for the mixing of all poetries. All Nature and Science should become Art. Art should become Nature and Science. Imperative: Poesy should be moral, and Morality should be poetic.” Not art to the exception of science but inclusive of it; the surrender to the world that includes me, and its acknowledgment as a creative process. The collective writes in Athenäumsfragment §116:

[Romantic Poetry’s] aspiration is not merely to reunite all the distinct species of poetry once more. . . . It desires that poetry and prose, genius and criticism, poetry of art and natural poetry, mingle and fuse in a lively and sociable poetry, one that makes life and society poetic, that poeticizes wit and fills the forms of art with everything good, with the vibrations of humor . . . the midpoint between the represented and the representer, free of all real and ideal self-interest, on the wings of poetic reflection, and can raise that reflection again and again to a higher power, it can multiply it in a perpetual series of mirrors. . . . Romantic poetry is in the arts what wit is in philosophy, and what society and sociability, friendship and love are in life . . . [it] should forever be becoming and never be perfected. It can be exhausted by no theory and only a divinatory criticism would dare try to characterize its ideal.

Though literature is perhaps its primary form, it is not exclusively so. Romantische Poesie is meant instead to signify a much broader field of creative activity. Gathering up eclectic sources and forms, it a poetics defined only by the most abstract qualities—fantasy, mimesis, and sentimentality. By the time of the 1800 Gespräch über die Poesie, “the poetic” came to be associated “with the creative power in human beings, and indeed with the productive principle in nature itself” (Beiser 2003: 15). “Poetry, taken in the widest sense is the power to create the beautiful and to present it,” simultaneously the “immediate production or creation of something real . . . invention in and for itself” and in a metaphysical sense as the creative act of genius that “reveals the divine within himself by making the universal and ideal something particular and real.”7 The youthful Novalis, perhaps the most radical of the group, imagined poesy as a free employment of the faculties, inspired by Goethe’s picture of organic growth. Drawn to the natural sciences, to mineralogy and chemistry, as much as to poetry, in Jena Novalis envisioned an “imaginative transformation” (Kneller 2006: 202), bridging cold Kantian reason with a mode of inhabiting the world that allows the world to lead the “self where it needed to be.”

During the course of his education, Novalis’ poetic science moved away from the haphazard and solely external (sensory) taxonomy of Werner’s system of geology [334]and closer to Goethe’s active empiricism.8 Classification in his view required also a thoughtful consideration of the internal make up of things (the endogamous relations of mineral and organic nature) (Novalis 1988: vol. 3, 141). The aim was not to impose a subjective order on the world, but in arranging knowledge of nature, to reveal its underlying structure (370). The organization of scientific knowledge moreover requires both a principle of necessity and of completeness (358). How do we come to know Nature? By means of our body, which is a variation of the whole, what later he would call the world-all; the individual is a member of the world (Weltglied) (Novalis 1988: vol. 2, 551). Knowledge of the world through its variant is a symbol of the essence of existence, an analogy. Scientific knowledge (of nature) is transformative, not merely mimetic. “Nature, through its study, through experiments and observation, refers to us, and the examination of ourselves, through experiments and observation, refers to the outer world. . . . We can examine the inner soul of nature only through thought, just as [we can only] examine the body of nature and the external world through sensation” (Novalis 1988: vol. 2, 429). Like Goethe’s scientific method, his is an “active empiricism” (Novalis 1988: vol. 2, 641), one that requires the play of critical imagination and thorough observation. It was Goethe, after all, who wrote of “the experiment as mediator between subject and object,” and who imagined the human body as the exacting instrument of systematic inquiry. This position had allowed him to maintain both the freedom of the individual and the “objectivity” of scientific method by calling for the great proliferation of free positions. Goethe describes his “genetic method” beginning from the empirical encounter with an object and following its creation through a series of steps to its originary moment, and nevertheless holding this progression in the mind as an “ideal whole.” As nature leaves no gaps, one has to approach progression as if it were an “uninterrupted activity,” achieved by “dissolving the particular without destroying the impression itself” (Goethe 1988).

Part and parcel to the fundamental character of such an effort of writing (and living) was the fragment, a “text for thinking” Novalis liked to say, which ebbed between completeness and incompleteness. Fragments stand outside mereological adjudication. Any suggestion, or representation, is determinately incomplete—if the issue were to be settled, the fragment would cease to be what it is. Philippe Lacoue-Labarthe and Jean-Luc Nancy read the fragment as an embodiment of the promise of the System, as the systactical (as they say, in Heidegger’s language) ideal. The System is the System-Subject.9 “Because the System itself must be grasped absolutely, the fragment as organic individuality implies the work, the organon. ‘Systasis’ (association, coming together) necessarily takes the place of the organicity of an organon, whether it be a natural creature, society, or a work of art. Or rather, that it be all of these at once, as is indicated by the absence of a specific object for [335]the totality of the Fragments” (Lacoue-Labarthe and Nancy 1998: 47). The fragment manifests the truth of the work, in its relation to the System, “or better yet the absolute fragmentary grasping of the System thus depends on the dialectic concerning the Work taking place within the fragment” (Lacoue-Labarthe and Nancy 1998: 47). It is the fragment’s self-containment, seeds as Novalis calls them, and its call for association (in criticism), like the Hermetic divination of Proteus, in which the fallow soil is forever being remade for the harvest.

The poetics of apprenticeship (to the world)

Stephen Spender has compared Novalis’ Lehrlinge zu Sais (1798–99) with Arthur Rimbaud’s Le Bateau Ivre (1871). This comparison is, I think, quite useful—where the sixteen-year-old Rimbaud captures a series of cherished images of nature in charming—if ecstatic—evocation of the senses, Novalis’ aim is properly Naturphilosophic. The latter is chasing after the sober resolution of “impassioned dreams”—as Spender quotes from Manheim’s translation; “therefore, he who feels an inner calling to impart the understanding of nature to other men . . . must first give careful regard to the natural causes of this development and to learn the elements of this art from nature. Having thus gained an insight he will devise a system based on experiment, analysis, and comparison hereby these means may be applied by any individual” (Spender 2005). It is this first task of such a science of nature that is set out in his novelistic fragments. The first book, The novice (Die Lehrlinge) is an introduction to the scene, opening a clearing: “various are the roads of men” (Mannigfache Wege gehen die Menschen). And then from far away, the narrator hears, “the incomprehensible (Unverständlichkeit) is solely the consequence of incomprehension.” But “holy writing requires no explanation,” for the word of “whoever speaks true” (wer wahrhaft spricht) is a “chord of the symphony of the World-all” (ein Akkord aus des Weltalls Symphonie) ([1845] 1984: 61). The voice is speaking, we come to find, of “our teacher.” He has spent his life in search of experience, analyzing the movement of celestial bodies, and gathering up and arranging all manner of natural debris, arranging them into orderly rows. What was strange “ordered itself within him.” He came to see no single thing by itself; rather he “heard, saw, tasted and thought at the same time” and “delighted in bringing strangers together” ([1845] 1984: 63). Here we have the first taste of Lehrlinge’s essential insight about the unity of nature, and thus the unity of its study. For Novalis, the art of apprehending nature is to be learned from nature itself. The “teacher” becomes a conduit for the instruction of nature, for our apprenticeship at its feet as to the manner of its study.10

Confused by the myriad voices, all of which in turn seem correct, the astute novice becomes anxious. At once, another voice chimes in to assure him and relays [336]a cryptic story, known by most as the fairytale of the Hyazinth and Rosenblütchen (Rose Petal). The story begins with Hyazinth in a state of nonconsciousness, surrounded cheerily by the trappings of nature and his beloved Rosenblütchen. A stranger arrives and tells the couple of all the marvelous places he has traveled and leaves a book in an undecipherable script. Stirred to action by the stranger’s words, Hyacinth sets out to find the “mother of things,” Novalis’ famed metaphor of the veiled maiden. He wanders the world until finally he makes his way to the resting place of the heavenly maiden where he falls asleep to reach her holy heights. There he stands before her, and once he lifts her veil, his own Rosenblütchen falls into his arms. The journey represents the loss and reclamation of the paradisiacal “immediate consciousness of the whole world.” But this return is one that moves forward as it moves back.

For Novalis, “feeling” itself pertains to the relation of the self to itself. Against J. G. Fichte, Novalis argued that the reflection of the subject on itself could not rely on the positing of an Absolute subject who stood in a position outside reflection but rather self-feeling I was nothing other than representation. The distinction comes down to a technical incongruity between immediacy and self-reference. Rather than ascribe to self-reference an exogamous fact-act (Tathandlung), the intuited subject, Novalis argues that Fichte had conflated intuition and thought; self-reference was in reality an act of representing what was given immediately, namely the content of what was properly intuition (what Kant would call sensation, and Novalis renames “feeling” and at times “not-knowledge” [nicht-Wissen] or “faith” [Glaube]) and as such had to be distinguished for conceptual thought. When we see self-feeling/self-intuition (Selbstgefühl) reflected in the “mirror of thought” we think it is just as it appears; really we have caught nothing but the representation, the mirror image of that intuition, not feeling itself. This grounds the sciences in a “theory of intuition” that incorporates—in opposition to the Enlightenment view—feeling and imagination with reason, and distinguishes Stoff (the substrate of representation) from Materie (the substrate of intuition). The imagination mediates between these binaries.

“Everything,” Novalis wrote, “irrespective of whether we reflect upon or sense it, is an object and so stands under the laws of the object. . . . Presentation is also object” (§290 of his Fichte Studien [1988: vol. 2]). These oscillations of the imagination, furthermore, are bound to essence of freedom, and thereby to the ethical project of Bildung. Novalis famously writes in the Blüthenstaub (Pollen), “we are on a mission: we are called upon to educate the earth.” And of anthropology, Novalis tells us that if it is to be “truly tranquil and freely active in every kind of situation,” that is “thoroughly healthy” and indicative of a “true presence of mind” then it should strive unto a harmonious state of the negative and the positive activities (that is, the subjective and the objective). He elaborates: “artist through morality” and in brackets “the complete and perfect artist is above all moral through himself—so too the complete and perfect human being in general” (Novalis 2007: 39). In a stunning move beyond Kant (and one especially pertinent to ongoing theorization in anthropology of the everyday), Novalis suggests that the “world making” capacity of the imagination is not a transcendental overcoming of the noumena but an “appearance . . . rooted in ordinary life” (Kneller 2006: 205). Novalis calls such ordinary events “a sensation of immediate certainty . . . the appearance (Erscheinung) [337]strikes us particularly at the sight of many human forms and faces, especially in a glimpse of some eyes, some demeanors, some movements, or at the hearing of certain words, the reading of certain passages, certain perspectives on life, the world, and fate” (as cited in Kneller 2006).

While Fichte began from identity of the I and itself in self-consciousness, an I that posits itself and meets its limit (Anstoß) only insofar as it does (and abstraction from which leads to the Absolute-I), Novalis regards a structure of representation that places the I outside itself as removing its essential nature, namely its unity. The I is not transparent to itself, because such knowledge would require understanding the ground of that awareness in the first place, nor is I merely productive of itself outside of a representation qua intellectual intuition. If we take the radical proposition that consciousness is a “being outside being in being,” we might regard the I as a sign (Frank 1989, 1997; Frank and Kurz 1977)—that is, as nothing, except for that everything is given to it, and neither it nor the given are anything without the other. Novalis uses the language of schema to describe the relation between sign and signified, which he borrows from Kant’s definition as the link between the necessary and the free (the receptive and spontaneous grounds of knowledge). It is through the schema moreover that we understand the mutual intelligibility of signs to multiple subjects. Andrew Bowie (2003: 90) explains, “language can only be understood as language via the assumption that the necessitated . . . events in which it is instantiated . . . are linked to the meaning intentions of a (free) subject. Communication is possible, then, via the ‘as it were, free contract’ inherent in language.” Communication operates through the simultaneous acceptance of objective, or applied necessity of the signs publically used and the acknowledgment that other language users are likewise capable of free intentional meaning that might escape me. Language in its use carries with it the possibility of its failure. In our reliance on this schematic relationship, Novalis says, the I “paints” its own image under the “mirror of reflection” and “the picture is painted in the position that it paints itself” (as cited in Bowie 2003: 91). They are (re)united in a transcendental poetics mutatis mutandis—the possibility that through poetry one might take hold of what appears hopeless. The educated feeling, at which we arrive at the end of the journey, is not the original identity of the self and nature but rather one that has been rediscovered. Art mediates these modes of thinking/relating, which we earlier called dialectical historical consciousness on the one hand and mythological thought on the other. He says in relation to Fichte:

The law of the concept and the law of the object must be one—only in reflection to be separated. . . . There [the I] is as an intelligence, here, as a pure I, free. There it separates its reflective activity from its essence—it goes outside of itself—here it unites both—it goes within itself. It must do the former, in order to do the other. The latter is the purpose, the former the means—the means produces the purpose. / All knowledge should produce morality—the moral drive, the drive to freedom leads to knowledge. Being-Free (Freyseyn) is the tendency of the I—the capacity to be free is the productive imagination—harmony is the condition of its activity—hovering, between opposites. . . . All Being, Being as such, is nothing but Being-Free—hovering between extremes, which it is necessary to unite and necessary to separate. (Novalis 1988: vol. 2, §555; italics in the original)[338]

This Ichheit (I-ness), as a productive power of the imagination, Novalis goes on to write, produces the extremes between which it hovers—it is this hovering that produces reality as such. This conception of the I has met with a wide variety of interpretations. Kristin Jones has summarized a field of interconnections: “for Haering, Novalis was proto-Hegelian; for Walter Benjamin, he embraced a filled infinity of reflection not unlike Leibnizian monads; for Lacoue-Labarthe, his most important influence was Kant’s third Critique, though he supported a discursive equivocity that puts him in the company of Blanchot and Derrida; for Frederick Beiser, he offered a Platonic argument for vitalist organicism; and for Manfred Frank, Novalis’ Kantian anti-foundationalism anticipated aspects of post-modern theories of the subject and of knowledge” (2013: 13). More fruitful for our purposes, however, might be his connection to Hölderlin (Kuzniar 1987), with whom this essay began, and their mutual insistence on a realm of Being that escapes us, save for an “infinite approximation.” For Hölderlin (especially in Hyperion) as for Novalis, we travel multiple roads at once, some where the subject feels itself master of the world, and others where we are nothing. Hyperion’s journey, like Novalis’ activity of the I, stages encounters with possibilities each of which prove—independently—untenable, and we can rest in the end only in our restlessness (Lamore 2000). If we are to move beyond the shadow of idealism and reconcile it with the drive to empiricism, perhaps it can only be achieved through a recognition of unity in Absolute Being; that is, by thinking the “concrete and internally differentiated” unity of both the world and of thought, as ongoing activity (Nassar 2014).

To speak of the self as nothing but representation, as empty of inherent existence, is to recognize also that there is no great distance between concepts and life. Returning to conviviality, I said at the outset that it could be distinguished from anthropological notions of hospitality, even those that understand the latter as transformative, because it must maintain a distance between the level at which concepts are exchanged and the life behind those exchanges. Conviviality, then, is activity at both registers simultaneously.

Anthropological thought and its history

I have tried to follow two registers of anthropological thinking, dwelling on sparks of shared inspiration. One I have called knowledge, dialectical and analytical, conceptual and empirical, propelled by distinctions and the work that happens at limits, of a world, of a self, between me and others, between words and the world. The conditions of possibility of that knowledge are more difficult to upend, to put under risk, or to transform, as they can be reached only through those concepts and that language that they simultaneously ground. To think of anthropology as a romantic science, then, is to consider how ordinary moments might allow us to recognize the underlying agreements we share in forms of life that enable limits and difference to appear to us but that also allows us to transform that condition. The art of cultivating a disposition is then a kind of self-work, a preparation that allows us to be challenged at the level of our very relation to the world; one that distinguishes the knowledge that allows us to reach wisdom (and to abandon itself) from the end in itself. The art of anthropology (Gell 1999) is not merely in the [339]material traces we leave, in monographs or field notebooks, but in comporting ourselves to the possibility of transforming the conditions of our knowledge. Through fragmentary sensibility we hover between these registers because they are integral to one another. The capacity to rest in (rather than resolve) what appears to us as in tension, to recognize they are once the same and different, is what I have been calling the aesthetic sense.

This productive hovering between the registers of difference and identity, in which we turn to life with others, from the wise and knowledgeable of the worlds we study, to our disciplinary colleagues, to the ghosts whose books we cherish, opens up the horizon of who or what might count for anthropological thought, and by extension, as a part of its history. Many have suggested that a concern with structure came at the expense of history and infrastructure. Lévi-Strauss writes that the problem of Marxism in anthropology pertains to the thought that “practices followed directly from praxis,” but that are in fact mediated by a conceptual scheme “by the operation of which matter and form, neither with any independent existence are realized as structures, that is as entities which are both empirical and intelligible” (1966: 130). It is to this manifold that our attention is drawn, not to either axis in itself. The distinction Lévi-Strauss made with respect to Sartre’s division of dialectic and analytical reason is thereby a difference in their readings of Marx. Sartre missed that for Marx, meaning is not absolute but rather “superstructures are faulty acts which have ‘made it’ socially” (1966: 254). For Lévi-Strauss there is an important difference between the historian’s interest in history, and anthropology’s (between the super- and infrastructural, and their mediating schema). If the historian’s fundamental dilemma is between “teaching” and “explaining,” one option appears to be to take flight from history, either by appeal to the bottom, to individual psychology, or to the top, to biology and ultimately cosmology. There is another possibility, however, when we recognize history as having no distinct object to itself, as a product of its method. We do not throw history away—we simply take it as the beginning of the search for meaning, rather than the end. Where the continuity desired by the ingenieur, it might be objected, considered abstractly is opposed to the concrete praxis of life, Lévi-Strauss suggests the latter is “no less derivative than the former” because “for praxis to be living thought, it is necessary first (in a logical and not a historical sense) for thought to exist . . . [it] must be given in the form of an objective structure of the psyche and brain without which there would be neither praxis nor thought” (264).

Thus we return full circle to the nature of conditions of experience and with an anthropological history of anthropology—I have argued that anthropology is concerned not with a symbolic order that merely represents an otherwise concrete reality (like rose-colored glasses), but with genuine knowledge at its limits. The stakes then are not in the tolerance of multiple adjacent, intransigent worlds but with possibilities for being together. Anthropologists, Lévi-Strauss told an American audience, are “the ragpickers of history”—a phrase that was met with much consternation ([1991] 1998: 122). We, like the societies in which we live, manifest a multitude of attitudes toward history—some set up chronologies and others, genealogies; some struggle against time and others make cults to it (125). History and structure, time and space, self and other, appear from one angle distinct and from another, identical. This was the lesson of Marx’s Feuerbachian critique of [340]Hegel and Wittgenstein’s language games, that problematic disjuncture is not a problem in the world but in the approach we adopt. Our logics organize and connect the appearance of our concepts, lives, events, even our epistemes. And if anthropological thought is marked by the seriousness with which it encounters new logics, then so, too, should such perspectives and their relations to the past be brought to bear on the history of anthropology.

My hope has been to offer conviviality as an alternative starting point through which we accept with equanimity such tensions rather than erase them or resolve them. Such an openness to surprise, seems to require of us, in Jane Guyer’s (2013) words, “a refined sense of unresolvability . . . seen as truer and better in human affairs than certainty.” Her sense that poetry and scientific empiricism might, to use Ben Okri’s phrase, share a hunger for the widening of the world, for “more life,” captures precisely what is at stake between Lévi-Strauss and romanticism. If this is our entrance into a picture of anthropological thought, it is for the same reason, an invitation to rethink its history and to include among its vaulted names countless others whose marks have been left indelibly on our lives.


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L’art de la convivialité

Résumé : Cet essai propose de concevoir l’anthropologie comme une science romantique qui s’intéresse à ce que Lévi-Strauss appelait la logique a posteriori. Je déplace notre attention, en l’écartant des désaccords conceptuels et en l’orientant plutôt vers les conditions d’expérience de notre savoir, c’est à dire vers le terrain d’émergence des concepts: la vie en commun (com vivere). Cette importance de la [343]convivialité permet de comprendre le travail ethnographique comme une sensibilité, à travers laquelle nous risquons nos propres modes de raisonnement. Cette image de la pensée anthropologique requiert de plus que nous réimaginions les contours de l’histoire de cette discipline, en gardant l’esprit ouvert quant ce qui peut potentiellement constituer l’anthropologie.

Andrew BRANDEL is a fellow at the Institute for Human Sciences in Vienna, Austria. He is currently completing a book on the figurations of literary thought in contemporary Berlin, and is coediting a volume on the anthropology of texts.

Andrew Brandel
Institute for Human Sciences
Spittelauer Lände 3
1090 Vienna, Austria


1. In life together we meet resistance, we recognize that we mark one another, we are unsettled, but at a minimum we share a boundary. We agree, Wittgenstein says, in a form of life. And as our concepts are never fully unbound from this life, these exchanges transform not only our ideas but also the very soil from which they spring. I am reminded of what Veena Das calls her “love affair” with anthropology, “in which when I reach bedrock I do not break through the resistance of the other, but in this gesture of waiting I allow the knowledge of the other to mark me” (2007: 17).

2. Maïté Maskens and Ruy Blanes (2013) have been inspired by a distinct tradition of romanticism through Cervantes and a desire for militant subversion. I sense a greater affinity, however, with Michael Jackson’s (1989) radical empiricism, moving in the interstices or clearings of thought, to gather one’s self. Another kin lineage might be through Vincent Crapanzano’s (2004) “transgressive montage,” which not only tries to dislodge experiential categories by pointing to their constructedness but also tries to subvert the aesthetic criteria that are the conditions of such constructions. There is a manifest kinship as well with Vincent Debaene’s (2014) rendering of Lévi-Strauss’ anthropology as an entropological and endless circulation between documentation and evocation, transforming the connection between the work of art, science, and myth. Lévi-Strauss thus becomes the fulcrum on whom the French tradition of anthropology pivots in its connection to literature.

3. My reading differs from Wiseman’s on the meaning and place of universality in Lévi-Strauss, and, on Mythologiques status as poem. My own sense is we require a finer distinction between the poetical and the poem.

4. As Debaene notes, quoting Lévi-Strauss, “As the instrument of his own observation, the ethnographer must cease to be ‘a purely contemplative intelligence’ in order to become ‘the involuntary agent of a transformation conveyed through him’” (2014: 42–43).

5. The first reference is to Boas (1898: 18). The second is Lévi-Strauss’ addendum to Boas’ quotation, from Lévi-Strauss (1967: 21).

6. Marked by the relation of the imagination to reflective judgment’s production of concepts. Beautiful art, in the technical sense as the work of genius, excites universal satisfaction without appeal to concepts, igniting a free play of reason and imagination without one subsuming the other under a law (Kant 1793). This interweaving of forces reveals a harmony between Nature as a whole and the “ways in which we think about and related to it” (Bowie 2003).

7. A. W. Schlegel and F. W. J. Schelling respectively, as cited in Beiser (2003: 17).

8. Dalia Nassar has traced their shared conception of knowledge as an infinite activity within and upon the world, through “creative, living thinking”—a process immanent to the world itself, or more precisely to nature, from which the knower is never detached, a potentiation (2011: 86). Thus Goethe and Novalis share a conviction, as she quotes from the latter, that “idealism is nothing but genuine empiricism.”

9. We must moreover bear in mind the distinction here between the espirit systematique rather than the espirit de systems.

10. The second book opens, “it must have been a long time before man thought to give the various objects of their senses common names (gemeinschaftlichen Namen) and placing them in opposition to themselves” (Novalis [1845] 1984: 64). The history of the world becomes distorted and divided as the history of humankind. Many voices try their hand at explicating nature in the course of the text. One exclaims science and poetry are two aspects of the same friendship with nature, whereby scientists gather and order stores, and poets make them into “daily food and consolation of human hearts” (75).