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Van Gennep, Arnold

Entry updated 31 August 2018. Tagged: Author.

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(1873-1957) Dutch-German anthropologist, sociologist and author, in France from early manhood; he is best known for Les Rites de Passage [for subtitle see Checklist below] (1909; trans Gabrielle L Caffe and Monika B Vizedom as The Rites of Passage 1960), whose breakdown of ceremonies of transition into three phases – separation, liminality and incorporation – has influenced authors of fiction for over a century. Van Gennep is some direct sf interest for Les Demi-Savants (coll 1911; trans Rodney Needham as The Semi-Scholars coll 1967 chap), a series of mildly Satirical takes on scientists and scientific methodology (see Scientific Errors). "Human Parthenogenesis; Or, the Hazards of Experiment" an experimenter kills thousands of foetuses because he had spat into the medium that fomented them. "MACL; Or, the Complete Epigraphy" is a Ruins and Futurity tale in which archaeologists millennia hence, digging in the sunken ruins of Europe, misinterpret a commercial fire-insurance plaque as evidence that nineteenth-century Europeans had worshipped a sun-god. [JC]

Arnold Van Gennep

born Ludwigsburg, Kingdom of Württemberg [now Germany]: 23 April 1873

died Bourg-la-Reine, near Paris, France: 7 May 1957

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