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Wisdom Sits in Places


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This is indeed a brilliant exposition of landscape and language in the world of the Western Apache. But it is more than that. Keith Basso gives us to understand something about the sacred and indivisible nature of words and place. And this is a universal equation, a balance in the universe. Place may be the first of all concepts; it may be the oldest of all words.- N. Scott Momaday;

""In Wisdom Sits in Places Keith Basso lifts a veil on the most elemental poetry of human experience, which is the naming of the world. In so doing he invests his scholarship with that rarest of scholarly qualities: a sense of spiritual exploration. Through his clear eyes we glimpse the spirit of a remarkable people and their land, and when we look away, we see our own world afresh.""- William deBuys;

""A very exciting book--authoritative, fully informed, extremely thoughtful, and also engagingly written and a joy to read. Guiding us vividly among the landscapes and related story-tellings of the Western Apache, Basso explores in a highly readable way the role of language in the complex but compelling theme of a people's attachment to place. An important book by an eminent scholar.""- Alvin M. Josephy, Jr.;

""This brilliant book on linguistic awareness of local landscapes is a gem.""- Arizona Republic;

""Basso, an anthropologist who has done fieldwork among the Western Apache of Arizona for over 30 years, provides a fascinating scholarly study of the meaning and significance of the Apache place names found in the area surrounding the community of Cibecue, Arizona. Some Apache place names describe features of the landscape or climate, while others derive from historical or mythological events. All, however, are rich in descriptive imagery and depth of meaning for the Apache people of the area. With the help of several Apache informants, Basso explores the place worlds underlying the names of localities and through them lets the Apache express their own understanding of their history, identity, values, and morality. This work, which won the Western States Book Award for creative nonfiction, is a valuable contribution to anthropological studies of place and location. At the same time, it provides a sensitive perspective on the Apaches' understanding of themselves. A useful addition to anthropology and linguistics collections in academic libraries.""- Elizabeth Salt, Otterbein Coll. Lib., Westerville, Ohio, Library Journal

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