J. D. Lewis-Williams: Myth and Meaning: San/Bushman Folklore in Global Context
This latest book by David Lewis-Williams, the dean of San/Bushman rock-art research, is a synthesis of a number of his other major works on the subject, which he has written or co-written over the past 30 odd years. Bushman rock art is considered in the context of the rich mythology and cosmology of the San, primarily nineteenth-century southern /Xam and Maluti Bushmen of the northwestern Cape and Drakensberg, with frequent references also to twentieth-century Kalahari San. The key terms and concepts of Lewis-Williams’s influential interpretive paradigm for San rock art based on shamanic trance are revisited and reinstated in Myth and Meaning with reference to a new concept, which Lewis-Williams employs as an interpretive device for making sense of the often oblique, ambiguity-beset meaning of San myth and belief. He refers to this analytical concept and methodological tool as “nuggets.”
Unlike the structuralist’s “mytheme”—to which Lewis-Williams’s earlier interpretive device,...
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