The medicine-man in the novela indianista.
Simeone, Anthony Joseph
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The purpose of this dissertation is the study of that complex creature, the Indian medicine-man as he appears in the novela indianista of Middle and South America. Appropriate anthropological evidence throughout the entire work, indicates that in the fiction examined there are no functions depicted which the medicine-man had not actually performed in the past. The high position which the medicine-men occupy in the novels, and the great awe and respect in which they are help by the Indians cannot be thoroughly understood until a true evaluation of their importance is attained. The aim of this thesis therefore, is to enable the reader to arrive at an understanding of this importance through a study of the various activities engaged in by the medicine-man. The medicine-man is by definition "not only the primitive doctor, but he is the diviner, the rain-maker, the soothsayer, the prophet, the preiest...". When the medicine-man's chief concern is the curing of organic ills by means of physical medicines and techniques, he is referred to as a curandero. The most elemental type of curandero is the herb-doctor, herbolario, whose diagnostic skill, coupled with an excellent knowledge of botany and of the curative properties of medicinal plants, makes him both a doctor and pharmacist. The Aztec herbolarios were such experts that they made known to an early Spanish naturalist the names and properties of over twelve hundred plants. These herbolarios established and maintained the magnificent botanical gardens found in Mexico at the time of the conquest. In all probability, the inferior botanical gardens of Europe were patterned after those of Mexico. [TRUNCATED]
Thesis (Ph.D)--Boston University
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