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The Beauty of the PrimitiveShamanism and Western Imagination$
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Andrei A. Znamenski

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780195172317

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2007

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195172317.001.0001

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 Enlightenment and Romantic Writers Look at Shamans

 Enlightenment and Romantic Writers Look at Shamans

(p.3) 1 Enlightenment and Romantic Writers Look at Shamans
The Beauty of the Primitive

Andrei A. Znamenski

Oxford University Press

This chapter discusses Enlightenment travel writings on Siberia as well as contributions from Romantic writers and scholars, who laid the foundations of shamanism studies. Among them are such pioneers of shamanology as Orientalist Dorji Banzarov and Finnish folklore scholars and writers. Although inspired by different intellectual and cultural ideals, all of them found tribal spirituality attractive and worthy of recording. Wilhelm Radloff, one of the prominent representatives of European Romantic Orientalism, is a Russian-German linguist and ethnographer who pioneered shamanism studies and wrote a book that remained the major source on “classical” shamanism for Western audiences until 1900. The word shaman originated from the language of the Tungus (Evenki), one of the Siberian indigenous groups. Russian settlers in Siberia chose this expression and eventually began to apply it to all native spiritual healers. Russian-educated people learned about Siberian shamans from original or translated writings of Western explorers of Siberia.

Keywords:   shamans, shamanism, Enlightenment, Romantic writers, India, Siberia, spirituality, Finland, ethnography, Wilhelm Radloff

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