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  • Flash of the Spirit
  • Written by Robert Farris Thompson
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  • Flash of the Spirit
  • Written by Robert Farris Thompson
  • Format: eBook | ISBN: 9780307874337
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Flash of the Spirit

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African & Afro-American Art & Philosophy

Written by Robert Farris ThompsonAuthor Alerts:  Random House will alert you to new works by Robert Farris Thompson


List Price: $13.99


On Sale: May 26, 2010
Pages: 336 | ISBN: 978-0-307-87433-7
Published by : Vintage Knopf
Flash of the Spirit Cover

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art (16) africa (9) history (9) art history (7) religion (5)
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Synopsis|Table of Contents


This book reveals how five distinct African civilizations have shaped the specific cultures of their New World descendants.

Table of Contents

1. Black Saints Go Marching In: Yoruba Art and Culture in the Americas

2. The Sign of the Four Moments of the Sun: Kongo Art and Religion in the Americas

3. The Rara of the Universe: Vodun Religion and Art in Haiti

4. Round Houses and Rhythmized Textiles: Mande-Related Art and Architecture in the Americas

5. Emblems of Prowess: Ejagham Art and Writing in Two Worlds
Robert Farris Thompson

About Robert Farris Thompson

Robert Farris Thompson - Flash of the Spirit

Photo © Yale University

Robert Farris Thompson is the author of, among other works, Black Gods and Kings and African Art in Motion. He has been a Ford Foundation Fellow and has mounted major exhibitions of African art at the National Gallery in Washington, D.C. He is Col. John Trumbull Professor of the History of Art at Yale University, where he is also Master of Timothy Dwight College. He lives in New Haven, Connecticut.


"Robert Farris Thompson is the art historian of Africa who has turned his talents to Afro-America and sketched the course that creative new work is likely to follow." -- Eugene Genovese

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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