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More Than Words: Transforming Script, Agency, and Collective Life in Bali

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"Richard Fox's eloquent voice brings analysis and fieldwork together to present a comparative account of literacy that provides much more than mere words."

- JOSEPH ERRINGTON, Yale University

Grounded in ethnographic and archival research on the Indonesian island of Bali, More Than Words challenges conventional understandings of textuality and writing as they pertain to the religious traditions of Southeast Asia. Through a nuanced study of Balinese script as employed in rites of healing, sorcery, and self-defense, Richard Fox explores the aims and desires embodied in the production and use of palm-leaf manuscripts, amulets, and other inscribed objects. Read more about the book.

$27.95 | 264 pages | Paperback

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List of Illustrations ix

Preface and Acknowledgments xi
A Note on Orthography and Related Conventions xvii
1. Manuscripts, Madness 1
2. Writing and the Idea of Ecology 26
3. The Meaning of Life, or How to Do Things with Letters 54
4. Practice and the Problem of Complexity 80
5. Maintaining a Houseyard as a Practice 102
6. Tradition as Argument 121
7. Translational Indeterminacy 153
8. Wagging the Dog 173
Notes 183
Works Cited 213
Index 233