Chronicle of the Guayaki Indians
"I was determined not to let the slightest detail escape me."
Pierre Clastres was one of the most respected political anthropologists of our time. Chronicle of the Guayaki Indians is an account of his first fieldwork in the early 1960s—an encounter with a small, unique, and now vanished Paraguayan tribe. From "Birth" to "The End," Clastres follows the Guayakis in their everyday lives, determined to record every detail of their history, ritual, myths, and culture in order to answer the many questions prompted by his personal experiences. Now available for the first time in English in a beautiful translation by the novelist Paul Auster, Chronicle of the Guayaki Indians will alter radically not only the Western academic conventions in which other cultures are thought but also the discipline of political anthropology itself.
About the Author
Pierre Clastres (1934-1977) was a French anthropologist and ethnologist who in the wake of the events of May '68, helped overturn anthropological orthodoxy in the 1970s. His books include Society Against the State (1974) and Chronicle of the Guayaki Indians (1972). Eduardo Viveiros de Castro is a Brazilian anthropologist and a professor at the National Museum of the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro.
"It is, I believe, nearly impossible not to lovethis book. The care and patience with which it is written, theincisiveness of its observations, its humor, its intellectual rigor,its compassion—all these qualities reinforce one another to make itan important, memorable work. . . . It is the true story of a man'sexperiences, and it asks nothing but the most essential questions: howis information communicated to an anthropologist, what kinds oftransactions take place between one culture and another, under whatcircumstances might secrets be kept? In delineating this unknowncivilization for us, Clastres writes with the cunning of a goodnovelist." From Paul Auster's Foreword