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Proceedings of the British Academy, Volume 120, Biographical Memoirs of Fellows, II$
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P. J. Marshall

Print publication date: 2003

Print ISBN-13: 9780197263020

Published to British Academy Scholarship Online: January 2012

DOI: 10.5871/bacad/9780197263020.001.0001

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Alfred Antony Francis Gell 1945–1997

Alfred Antony Francis Gell 1945–1997

(p.120) (p.121) (p.122) Alfred Antony Francis Gell 1945–1997
Proceedings of the British Academy, Volume 120, Biographical Memoirs of Fellows, II

Alan Macfarlane

British Academy

Alfred Gell was widely regarded as one of the most interesting thinkers in the world in the field of the anthropology of art. His life and writings provide an interesting insight into the fashions and flows of one part of British thought in the later 20th century. While Gell will be remembered as the author of the classic ethnography on the Umeda and a splendid survey of theories of time, it is the work on art and anthropology, undertaken during the last twelve years of his short life, which will determine his wider reputation. This consists of three books. The first, and only one published during his life was Wrapping in Images: Tattooing in Polynesia (1992). The second in order of writing, though not of publication, was a collection of his essays, mostly given as seminar papers and lectures, published in 1999 as The Art of Anthropology; Essays and Diagrams and edited by Eric Hirsch. The final work was Art and Agency, An Anthropological Theory (1998).

Keywords:   anthropologists, anthropology, art, Umeda, Wrapping in Images

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