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Four Points and a Circle

Four Points and a Circle

It is usually the grandeur of the wooded area surrounding The Manse that we recall from our history books. In American Romantic painting for example we are overwhelmed by the sublime depicted in the surrounding forms: nature, elements of the creator, man and nothing else. Within the framework of Four Points and a Circle we are called to uncover a different human condition hidden from our perspective.


Four Points and a Circle demarcates several entry points in the wooded area behind the The Manse, each point leads visitors to a listening circle, each circle having a specific topic of discussion relation to the The Manse. Below are the discussion points presented thus far:


One: A Search for a Different Economy
The Manse, Ithaca, New York
September 1st & 2nd, 2012

In 1877 American anthropologist and ethnographer Lewis Henry Morgan published Ancient Society. This expansive five-part book contains extensive research on various civilizations including the Iroquois (Haudenosaunee) that he used to formulate a theory of social evolution. Four years later Karl Marx sat down and took detailed notes on Morgan’s Ancient Society along with notes on other anthropological findings at that time. In 1884, a year after Marx passed away, Friedrich Engels picked up from Marx’s notebooks and published The Origin of the Family, Private Property, and The State. Paul Bohannan states in his introduction to Morgan’s The Houses and House-Life of American Aborigines* that “Engels’ book on the family is Morgan, with minor modifications.”

[1] A page from Marx’s notebooks on Lewis Henry Morgan’s Ancient Society Part I. Ch. I. These notes form what is referred to as the ethnological notebooks of Karl Marx 1881, 1882, 1883.

[2] Word by word transcription of Marx’s notes on Lewis Henry Morgan by Lawrence Krader. Formatted here to appear as it was written in Marx’s notebook.

[3] Diagram showing the relationship between the books mentioned above. In 1972, Lawrence Krader transcribed Marx’s notebooks with an introduction which suggest a line in Marx’s thought in The Ethnological Notebooks of Karl Marx: Studies of Morgan, Phear, Maine, Lubbock.

*The final part of Ancient Society (part v) was publish as a stand alone book re-titled Houses and House-Life  of the American Aborigines, 1881.


FOUR POINTS AND A CIRCLE is one of many projects at:
Complimenta (I)/The Manse.
Ithaca, New York

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