Found in translation: on the social history of
the moral imagination,
in: The Georgia Review, vol. 31 no. 4 (1977), pp. 788-810
(by Clifford Geertz)
Using a passage written in 1880 describing a Balinese sacrificial ceremony, commentary is made on the ideology of literary critic L. Trilling. A comparison of Trilling's literary approach to the relation of culture to moral imaginaton is made, with an anthropological approach emphasizing custom. In reference to cultural relativism, Trilling proposed that there exists an inability to understand the imagination of another culture or period as well as one's own. The counterargument is made that understanding is possible if one looks through, instead of behind, "interfering glosses." In order to emphasize that the effect on the present of past periods & different cultural modes is not simplistic, comparisons are made between the Balinese sacrificial ceremony & classics from literature. The effect of Western influences on Balinese culture is also discussed. J. Schulman
source: Sociological Abstracts Inc. (paper version)
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