Idea for a book
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25-06-2012, 11:24 PM
Idea for a book
I was thinking about compiling legends about monkeys and apes from Africa, India, East Asia, Southeast Asia, and South America into one book. It would have sections on the evolution and migration of the various species, a history of the recorded interactions with humans (e.g., the oldest representation of a primate in ancient art or literature), and an analysis of each group of tales from a cultural and scientific perspective. I've looked around and haven't found anything like this yet. Someone may actually beat me to the punch, though, since I haven't even begun my university training in biological and cultural anthropology yet. However, as a former East Asian Languages and Cultures major and a history nut, I have a solid background in historical research, and a decent background in comparative mythology / literature analysis and art history. I figure all of these skills will come in handy in writing the book. Would anyone here be interested in such a book?
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26-06-2012, 06:04 PM
RE: Idea for a book
(25-06-2012 11:24 PM)ghostexorcist Wrote:  I was thinking about compiling legends about monkeys and apes from Africa, India, East Asia, Southeast Asia, and South America into one book. It would have sections on the evolution and migration of the various species, a history of the recorded interactions with humans (e.g., the oldest representation of a primate in ancient art or literature), and an analysis of each group of tales from a cultural and scientific perspective. I've looked around and haven't found anything like this yet. Someone may actually beat me to the punch, though, since I haven't even begun my university training in biological and cultural anthropology yet. However, as a former East Asian Languages and Cultures major and a history nut, I have a solid background in historical research, and a decent background in comparative mythology / literature analysis and art history. I figure all of these skills will come in handy in writing the book. Would anyone here be interested in such a book?

Think I have seen something like that, but can't come up with references. Think you'd be better off turning it into a PhD thesis first and then spin off many books from those credentials. Wink

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15-01-2013, 04:12 PM
RE: Idea for a book
(26-06-2012 06:04 PM)GirlyMan Wrote:  Think I have seen something like that, but can't come up with references. Think you'd be better off turning it into a PhD thesis first and then spin off many books from those credentials. Wink

I belong to a professional research forum called Research Gate. I posted a thread asking for sources on various cultural primate folklore, and there have been many people eager to contribute. One person recently told me about a book by Desmond Morris and his wife called Men and Apes (1968). This might be the one you were thinking about. I understand the book is similar to what I am wanting to do, but it isn't as all encompassing as I would like to make it.

I pretty much have Asia and South Asia covered. Some people have pointed me in the direction of Southeast Asian tales, but I would like some more. Surprisingly, I have zero tales from Africa. None of the African folklore organizations I've contacted have replied yet. My archaeology professor, an expert on Meso and South America, has pointed out various monkey myths from those areas. The Mayans viewed monkeys as tricksters, yet they considered them patrons of artists, musicians, and scribes. He also showed me an online collection of Mayan vases with monkey iconography. Anyone interested can see them here:

http://research.mayavase.com/kerrmaya_li...s[]=Monkey

I'm not sure if I will ever get around to actually writing the book, but I feel it is important since monkeys and apes are our closest relatives. Their lives are intimately tied with ours not only through genetics, but also through social interaction. The resulting folklore that sprang forth from this interaction is a part of our cultural heritage as humans.
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15-01-2013, 07:09 PM
RE: Idea for a book
Then they can make it into this movie:



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15-01-2013, 10:11 PM
RE: Idea for a book
(15-01-2013 07:09 PM)Misanthropik Wrote:  Then they can make it into this movie:
[...]

And I would make millions and millions of dollars and share it with everyone on TTA. I love that movie. They actually made Caesar look a little more human so more emotions would come through. I loved the scene where he and the orangutan conversed through sign language. The ending was neat when he started talking, but, realistically, he should have continued to sign and teach it to the other apes. Chimps can't speak because their vocal cords are located too high in their throats. Therefore, its more of problem of anatomy than cognition.
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16-01-2013, 08:10 AM
RE: Idea for a book
It was an interesting movie, but I have to admit, I was rather disappointed. It pitched itself as this big revolution story, but the "revolution" mostly consisted of tossing things across a bridge before escaping to the trees. I was expecting a nice buildup that culminated in at least an hour of ape-induced chaos.

And yes, when Ceasar yelled out near the end, I kind of facepalmed. Rolleyes

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16-01-2013, 09:08 AM
RE: Idea for a book
Get a really good children's book illustrator for the folklore parts; quality photographs for the exposition. Accessible, but not too simple language, and be careful both of the balance and distinctions between fact and fiction. One logical format would be to go region by region, following human(and perhaps pre-human?) migration patterns over the millennia.
I can see it as a beautiful book with a wide audience. Both gift market and schools. Yes - a very good idea!

It's not the mean god I have trouble with - it's the people who worship a mean god.
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17-01-2013, 08:10 PM
RE: Idea for a book
(16-01-2013 09:08 AM)Peterkin Wrote:  Get a really good children's book illustrator for the folklore parts; quality photographs for the exposition. Accessible, but not too simple language, and be careful both of the balance and distinctions between fact and fiction. One logical format would be to go region by region, following human(and perhaps pre-human?) migration patterns over the millennia.
I can see it as a beautiful book with a wide audience. Both gift market and schools. Yes - a very good idea!

Thanks for the compliment. Those are some good suggestions. Jill Pruetz, the Primatologist who first noted spear-wielding chimps in Senegal, said that she is going to put me in contact with a former MA student of hers who studied primate legends in Africa. That's awesome because I've been having problems finding sourced material on such legends. I've also decided (as of a few minutes ago) to add Prosimans (e.g., lemurs) to the book. My Primatology professor told me a legend about the Aye-Ayes of Madagascar, the so-called "demon primate." Natives believe you will die if one of those ugly buggers looks or points their gnarly finger at you.



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17-01-2013, 10:08 PM
RE: Idea for a book
Yeah. I think a children's version would be awesome! You can be, like, the Richard Dawkins of anthropology.

"There is a circle here that links us to one another: we each want to be happy; the social feeling of love is one of our greatest sources of happiness; and love entails that we be concerned for the happiness of others. We discover that we can be selfish together."
-Sam Harris
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23-01-2013, 01:43 PM
RE: Idea for a book
(17-01-2013 10:08 PM)Chase Wrote:  Yeah. I think a children's version would be awesome! You can be, like, the Richard Dawkins of anthropology.

I would like to make this book more for older readers, but I could easily do a children's' spinoff.
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