Convict and the Colonel

ISBN-10: 0807046515
ISBN-13: 9780807046517
Edition: 1998
List price: $20.00
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Description: The life of Medard Aribot of Martinique óartist, convict, madman, legend óspans much of the twentieth century. Born in 1901 when slavery was a living memory, Medard was allegedly sent to a French penal colony for carving a bust of a colonial  More...

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Book details

List price: $20.00
Copyright year: 1998
Publisher: Beacon Press
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 304
Size: 6.25" wide x 9.25" long x 0.75" tall
Weight: 0.946
Language: English

The life of Medard Aribot of Martinique óartist, convict, madman, legend óspans much of the twentieth century. Born in 1901 when slavery was a living memory, Medard was allegedly sent to a French penal colony for carving a bust of a colonial official that rioters hoisted overhead during a 1925 massacre. Today, the peculiar house he built for himself late in life is a major tourist attraction in Martinique. With an exciting combination of scholarship and storytelling, award-winning anthropologist Richard Price takes us on a search for the real Medard. Using the Diamant massacre and the life of Aribot as emblems of Martinique's transition from a colonial society to a modern society, the author shows how the fishing village he encountered on his first trip to Martinique in 1962 has been transformed by a heavily assisted welfare-based consumer economy. And Medard, whose life was once a subversive symbol of anticolonial sentiment, has been silenced by contemporary myths . . . or has he? Part historical mystery, part biography, part cultural studies, The Convict and the Colonel is a fascinating story of a society in transition and the role of the prophetic figure in historical memory. "Price quotes a phrase from colleague Sidney Mintz about the kind of anthropology that is 'at the fault line between the large and the little.' In this intellectually daring book, he gets as close to the fault line as possible." --Publishers Weekly

Born in the Welsh town of Llangeinor, Price was the son of a dissenting preacher and was himself ordained as one at age 21. He is best known for his moral philosophy but also wrote on financial and political subjects. His writings on life expectancy and life insurance claims led to sweeping changes in the actuarial and benefit policies of insurance companies and benefit societies; an article by him on public debt convinced William Pitt, the prime minister, to establish a fund to extinguish the English national debt. Price's chief philosophical work is A Review of the Principal Questions in Morals (1758, revised editions 1769 and 1787). Price was a moral realist and rationalist, a critic of Hutcheson's moral sense theory and an adherent of Samuel Clarke's view that there is an immutable standard of right and wrong discerned by reason. Price's Four Dissertations (1767) contains a defense of his religious convictions, including a reply to Hume's essay on miracles. Against Joseph Priestley he defended freedom of the will in A Free Discussion of the Doctrines of Materialism and Philosophical Necessity (1778). Price's political views were progressive. In addition to urging political reforms in England, he wrote a widely circulated pamphlet defending the American cause against the British crown; the pamphlet is said to have encouraged the colonists' decision to declare independence. Price later became a friend of Benjamin Franklin (see Vol. 1). He was offered American citizenship by the Continental Congress if he would emigrate and serve as a financial adviser to the American government, an offer he gratefully declined. Price also welcomed the French Revolution; in fact, it was in reply to a 1790 treatise by Price that Edmund Burke wrote Reflections on the Revolution in France.

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